Dairy products account on average for 60-70 per cent of estrogens consumed. Humans consume milk from cows in the second half of pregnancy when cow’s estrogen levels are high. We usually associate dairy and drinking milk with calcium, and never think about what else we may be consuming along with the calcium (and dairy, by the way, is not the best source of calcium). Here is a   list of hormones that have been found in cows’ milk:

Prolactin, Somatostatin, Melatonin, Oxytocin, Growth hormone, Luteinizing releasing hormone, Thyroid stimulating hormone, Estrogens, Progesterone, Insulin, Corticosteroids and much more.

Do you think that excess consumption of these hormones could disrupt your own hormonal balance? You bet! Consumption of milk has been linked to certain cases of male infertility. Excess estrogen and pesticide exposure havebeen linked to PCOS and endometriosis. Studies have found higher concentrations of pesticides in cheese than in non-organically grown fruit and vegetables.

The first line of naturopathic treatment that I would recommend for PCOS and Endometriosis is to minimise intake of animal products. Animal products have a high content of hormones, pesticides, and herbicides, which are known endocrine disruptors. They wreak havoc to your hormones and this can lead to anovulation and ultimately infertility.

Avoid the two most common allergens

The link between food intolerances and anti-sperm antibodies is now well established. Studies have found that women with multiple allergies and food intolerances were more likely to miscarry. An overactive immune system is more likely to attack its own body cells. From an immunological point of view, an embryo and sperm cell are foreign bodies.

But Mother Nature is clever. She programmed our immune systems to distinguish between an everyday invader and a sperm cell or embryo.  A normal and healthy immune response to an embryo or sperm cell is orchestrated by Th2 cytokines.

They suppress your killer cells (that’s what they are called) to leave the embryo unharmed. Because of this protection, many pregnant women are poor wound healers and can come down really badly with a cold or flu. Your natural protection has been suppressed so that your baby can develop properly.

An abnormal immune response to the implantation of the fertilised egg is orchestrated by Th1 cytokines. Rather than suppressing your killer cells they stimulate their activity. This can lead to defects and the loss of the fetus. The two most widely spread food intolerances are gluten and dairy.

I recommend all my patients have an IgG immunoglobulin test done to check if you are dairy and gluten intolerant. But since most people have some level of allergy to gluten and/or dairy, it’s advisable to avoid gluten and dairy altogether during the preconception and pregnancy period.

Check for STDS

Most people believe both they and their partner are STD- free. However there are some STD’s which can be asymptomatic, meaning that you may not be aware you have them, as there are no obvious symptoms. One such STD is a chlamydia infection. In men, a Chlamydia infection can lead to sperm abnormalities including sperm antibodies. In women, it can lead to scarring, blocked tubes and miscarriage.

A study found 60 per cent of asymptomatic male partners of infected females attending a fertility clinic were found to be infected with Chlamydia. Most STD’s are easy to treat, so it pays for both partners to have an STD check. There is no point in only one partner going for a test as the other partner can re-infect them again.

Prep for 60 days

There is a common misconception that egg and sperm quality cannot be improved. In fact it is possible to improve the quality of your egg and sperm however, it takes 60 days. This is because it takes approximately 60 days for eggs from both ovaries to mature and sperm to develop. During the generation and maturation of gamete cells ,sperm and ovum, that form an embryo everything that you and your partner ingest, inhale or are exposed to will influence the health of your eggs and sperm for better or worse, and the ultimate quality of the genetic building blocks you pass onto your child.

This is why it is crucial to follow a good preconception plan for a minimum of four months before conception. A baby is a 50-50 product of his or her parents – therefore optimising the quality of eggs and sperm is of paramount importance. Sperm disorders contribute to 40 per cent of infertility cases.

Woman who suffer from recurrent miscarriages often have partners with low sperm counts and visually abnormal sperm. Therefore both partners should detox, follow a fertility diet, take preconception supplements and avoid reproductive toxins discussed in this article for minimum of two months before conception.

Take a good quality preconception and pregnancy supplement. Regardless of whether you are eating organic produce and a healthy diet, you are unlikely to be getting all the nutrients  your body needs for optimal fertility from your diet. This is why supplementation is important.

Getting pregnant and growing a new human being with your own reserves, requires a surplus of nutrients and energy. In your body’s accounting terms, pregnancy is a luxury, a splurge of energy and nutrients. Some of the key nutrients for fertility are: zinc, selenium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin b12, b6, folic acid, vitamin c, and omega-3 fats.