First Line Therapy for Fertility and Supplements for Egg Quality: A Case Study
I'm so happy to share this inspiring story from one of my clients. Let's call her *Tanya. (*Name has been change to protect privacy.) When Tanya came to Pulling Down the Moon about 6 months ago, she had a history of 2 unsuccessful IVF cycles and had gained weight during those cycles. She wanted to lose the weight and maximize her chances of having a successful IVF cycle. Tanya decided to do the FirstLine Therapy for Fertility (FLTF) program, which is a modified Mediterranean style eating plan designed to improve fertility through weight loss. There are several ways that being overweight may adversely affect fertility and pregnancy. Check out my video to learn more. One of the ways that being overweight may make pregnancy more difficult is that insulin resistance may interfere with factors that promote implantation. Another reason for unsuccessful IVF cycles is poor embryo quality, which can be a result of issues with egg and/or sperm quality.
Here are 3 ways that FLTF may help to support your fertility:
1. FLTF directly addresses insulin resistance as it is a low glycemic index diet that aims to keep blood sugar levels steady and lower insulin levels to promote weight loss.
2. FLTF is also a modified Mediterranean dietary eating plan, and in the research, following a Mediterranean style diet has been associated with better IVF success rates.
3. Theoretically, FLTF should help decrease free radicals, since it's loaded with fruits and vegetables that are all rich in antioxidants. Free radical damage may contribute to decline in egg quality. FLTF also includes healthy fats, which are important in maintaining healthy cell membranes to support fertilization.
Back to Tanya. Prior to starting FLTF, Tanya was focusing on low calorie and low fat foods and had followed Weight Watchers in an effort to lose weight. It didn't seem to be working, and she wasn't providing her body with the nourishing foods and protein that her body needed. In the first 2 months, Tanya lost 10lbs (which was about 5% of her body weight) and went on to lose another 5lbs in the subsequent months leading up to her IVF cycle. In addition to the changes to her diet, Tanya also took the following supplements, which research indicates may help to improve embryo quality: Fish oil (EPA/DHA), DHEA, CoQ10, and L-arginine.
I'm happy to say that Tanya did her 3rd IVF cycle (1st cycle since starting FLTF) and is now pregnant with twins! She reported that when she went in for her embryo transfer, the embryologist came in and told her that she had excellent quality embryos and to confirm she really wanted to transfer both of them. (The excellent quality of the embryos would increase the likelihood of twins)! Tanya decided to have both embryos transferred, and I'm happy to say she is now 11 weeks pregnant with twins.
Looking to learn more about diet and supplements to improve egg quality? Sign-up for my workshop entitled Nutrition and Supplements to Support Egg Quality on Wednesday, April 24th at 6pm. Follow this link to sign-up. The cost is $25, and you'll receive 10% off supplements purchased at the time of the class as an added bonus!
By Margaret Wertheim, MS, RD