We hear and talk a lot about poor egg quality impacting our ability to conceive.
But what exactly is ‘poor egg quality’? What makes your eggs ‘good’ or ‘poor’?
In fact there is no scientific measure of egg quality and what constitutes good or poor, this is simply a subjective measure and opinion.
Unfortunately, it is true that the quality of our eggs unavoidably reduces as we age.
However the good news is that there are things we can do to nurture our eggs through the maturation process to produce the best quality eggs possible.
We may not have control over our biological clock but we do have control over the environment and nutrient rich environment in which our eggs develop.
1. The 90 day life cycle of the egg –
The growth phase for an egg, from immature follicle to mature egg ready for fertilization and ovulation, is around 90 days.
During these 90 days, growth is influenced both positively and negatively by environmental factors. This includes the amount of blood flow, amount of oxygen available, your nutritional status, hormonal balance and stress levels.
So here’s what you can do to support healthy follicle development in the ‘survival of the fittest’ race to produce one spectacularly healthy egg!
2. Blood flow-
Improving blood flow to the ovaries helps carry oxygen and important nutrients to where they are most needed. You can support healthy blood flow by:
Ensuring adequate hydration
Lack of hydration can increase the thickness of the blood, reducing the ability to easily flow around the body. Ideally, you should aim for 2 litres/8 glasses of water per day.
As discussed earlier, healthy levels of activity can positively influence fertility. One of the ways in which it achieves this is by improving blood flow.
The more we move, the more our blood is pumped around our body, transporting vital nutrients.
Herbal supplementsTo compliment the above practices you may wish to combine some simple herbal treatments to further stimulate blood flow.
Ginkgo biloba and ginger are excellent herbs for supporting healthy blood flow.
NutritionWhat you eat during these important 90 days can positively or negatively influence your egg health. It’s important to increase your intake of:
- fresh, organic fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- nuts and seeds
- oily fish
- organic meats
and decrease your intake of:
- soft drinks
- refined sugar
- processed foods
- non-organic meats
- genetically modified foods
SupplementsIf only we still all sourced our fruits and vegetables from the veggie patch in the backyard and our meat came from the free roaming cattle in the paddock.
Unfortunately today, most of our food purchases are made from supermarket shelves where little is known about their origin or the steps that it’s taken to reach these shelves.
A healthy supply of nutrients is so important during this crucial phase that it’s difficult to rely on diet alone to ensure adequate supply.
It’s best to look for a good prenatal multivitamin providing ‘active’ folic acid (calcium folinate/folinic acid), choline and good levels of vitamin B12 and vitamin D as well as a good balance of all your other important nutrients.
A prenatal multivitamin should never be a replacement for a healthy diet, however it acts as an important ‘insurance policy’ helping to ensure a healthy balance of essential nutrients regardless of fluctuations in daily dietary intake.
You may also wish to include a good antioxidant such as co enzyme Q10 to further support egg health.
StressStress has a negative impact on overall fertility as well as egg health specifically.
Stress produces excess cortisol, which can interfere with hormone production during the egg cycle and can also increase the production of free radicals.
Reducing stress levels through meditation, yoga, massage or other relaxation techniques will positively influence healthy egg development.