How to Improve Egg Quality

How to Improve Egg Quality

Most fertility patients are concerned about the quality and quantity of their eggs.

A woman’s eggs are made while she herself is in utero.  As those eggs get older, their DNA becomes fragile and more prone to chromosomal damage.  This chromosomal damage is the leading cause of pregnancy loss across all age groups, and the risk of miscarriage  increases as one gets older.  Age is the number one factor affecting a woman’s fertility.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to improve the quality of your eggs at any age, including:

Supplements to improve egg quality

CoQ10, 600 mg daily

  • Supports the energy production that powers the egg
  • Improves egg maturation and embryo quality
  • Helps chromosomes to replicate normally
  • Recommended: NeoQ10 by Theralogix

Vitamin D, 5000 iu daily

  • Increases ovarian response to stimulation
  • Improves implantation rates
  • Lowers risk of miscarriage
  • Recommended: D3 5000 by Metagenics

Inositol, 3 grams daily

  • Regulates blood sugars
  • Increases ovarian response to stimulation
  • Improves quality of both eggs and embryos
  • Treats PCOS
  • Recommended: Ovasitol by Theralogix
  • Recommended: Sensitol by Designs for Health

Melatonin, 3 mg at bedtime

  • Antioxidant – prevents or slows damage to cells
  • Supports better sleep
  • Improves hormonal balance
  • Increases quality of both eggs and embryos

Vitamin C, 1000 mg 3 x daily

  • Antioxidant – prevents or slows damage to cells

Vitamin E, 800 iu daily

  • Antioxidant – prevents or slows damage to cells

Resveratrol, 1800 mg daily

  • Antioxidant – prevents or slows damage to cells
  • Recommended: Resveratrol Supreme by Designs for Health

DHEA, 25 mg, 3 x day

  • Supports adrenal and ovarian function
  • Improves both number and quality of eggs
  • Best used during IVF cycles only

Diet to improve egg quality

The two most common ways that diet damages eggs are blood sugar issues and inflammatory foods.  Both factors disrupt hormonal balance and interfere with the development of healthy eggs.

Maintaining normal blood sugars is fairly straightforward if you follow a few simple guidelines.

Focus on a diet that includes:

  • High protein
  • Low carb
  • No sugary or processed foods

But what is an inflammatory food? And why is this an issue? 

Some foods will trigger inflammation, which is like a fire inside the body.  The body uses cortisol to put out the fire, but that cortisol also suppresses the hormones involved with healthy egg development.  The two most inflammatory foods are gluten and dairy, and they can trigger inflammation even when you do not have a specific allergy to them. Eating these foods can make it harder to produce a healthy, high quality egg.

So, what do I eat?

The best all-around diet that supports both healthy blood sugars and limits inflammation is a Paleo diet.  Paleo is a whole foods approach that offers a lot of options, yet avoids the foods that tend to work against egg quality.  There are many great resources available if you are new to a paleo diet, including the Whole30, which has books and a website with recipes. For our patients, we like to make things as easy as possible.  We start with a food journal, and then we offer a short list of critical steps for producing healthy eggs.

Lifestyle

Sleep

The more we learn about sleep, the more we discover that eight or more hours each night is needed for optimal health.  This is especially true for our eggs.  Our bodies are designed to wake up with the sun and go to sleep when it gets dark.  Getting enough sleep is key for hormonal balance, which in turn supports healthy egg development.  Sleep also plays a critical role in maintaining optimal weight, promoting good energy levels, and reducing stress.

Exercise

Some exercise is good, but too much can work against you when you want to be pregnant.  The body has two gears:

  • Fight-or-flight
  • Feed-and-breed

Strenuous exercise puts the body into the fight-or-flight mode.  This impacts your hormones, suppresses egg development, and makes it harder to get pregnant.  Mild to moderate exercise,  think walking or gentle yoga,  keep your blood circulating while maintaining your body in the feed-and-breed mode.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has many benefits for healthy eggs:

  • Improves blood flow
  • Reduces stress
  • Expert advice
  • Coaching

Research has shown that acupuncture successfully increases the blood flow around the ovaries, which improves their ability to support healthy eggs.  Acupuncture is also excellent for relieving stress.  In addition, you will get expert advice from your acupuncturist on how to best support your egg health, along with coaching on how to stay on track with your plan.

Blood tests

A few simple blood tests provide key information that will help fine-tune the strategies for making your eggs as healthy as possible.  These tests include:

  • Vitamin D
  • Blood sugar markers
  • Iron panel
  • Thyroid hormones

How long does it take to improve egg quality?

Eggs take 3 – 4 months to mature, but even a month of supplements, acupuncture, diet, and lifestyle can improve egg quality, especially when you are preparing for an IVF cycle.  Of course, the more time you have, the more your eggs will benefit.

Summary

You deserve a clinician who will take the time to listen, understand your individual needs, and support you during your fertility journey.  Someone who has experience.  If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, we can answer your questions and help you get scheduled for your first appointment!

Call today 510-595-1175!

Leslie Oldershaw, L.Ac.
Medical director
Fertility Acupuncturist East Bay
510-595-1175
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