Angela Heap is an expert in the field of Fertility Nutrition. She helps her clients develop a deeper understanding of their relationship with food to prepare their body for a baby. In this article, Angela explains the process of your cycle including the vital hormones at each stage. She also shares her top nutrition tips to get you 'firing on all cylinders' and back to a more fertile you. Over to Angela...
For those of you who are effectively in the ‘dark’ about the fertility. It all starts with sex hormones. Hormones are complicated.
I see it in women as a relay race to the finish. Different hormones will come into the race when each, in turn, reaches a certain point. In some women, when their fertility is less than optimum, they will have weaker runners at different stages, but ultimately the race will always run. The organiser is always the main organ, the hypothalamus, and his second in command is the coach, the pituitary gland, who ultimately grooms the hormones to ensure they're ready and brings on new runners at different stages. The second coach is also the ovaries themselves, who listen to the pituitary and respond on the ground. The cycle for a woman is cut into two main phases. The Follicular (building) and the Luteal phase (sustaining).
Fertility is a complicated process - particularly for women.
Fertility can be a complicated process, particularly for women. There are some hormones that are vital messengers during your cycle. In order to build the messenger, as well as the major hormones, it is vital that your body produces the right effect in your reproductive system in order for the egg to meet sperm and for fertilisation to happen. Hopefully, you will have been to your doctor prior to reading this to check everything is in working order. If you haven’t, now is the time to order a few blood tests. These are best done on day 1-3 of the cycle for the follicular hormones. To get a ‘day 21 progesterone’ you will need to monitor your cycle and go for this blood test 7 days after ovulation.
In the early stages of the cycle the important hormones are as follow:
- Follicle Stimulation Hormone (FSH)
- Oestrogen (E2 or Oestradiol)
- Luteinising Hormone (LH)
In the Luteal phase (after ovulation day 12- 28/30 approx):
- Oestrogen (E2)
- Progesterone (P4)
Can Omega 3 help fertility?
As hormones are made predominantly from fat and protein, it's vital we top up our supplies of essential fatty acid (EFA) via diet, as this is the only way for us to get access to these golden beauties.
Fish oil is one of the best and richest sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. A variety of studies over the last 10 years have shown that Omega 3 has supported fertility by helping to regulate hormones in the body, through both the follicular and luteal phase. Another vital area it helps is to increase cervical fluid, which helps project the sperm and nourish it before it gets to the egg.
Omega 3 also helps at the point of ovulation by allowing follicles to remain more fluid, pop out the egg that is inside it and therefore allowing ovulation to occur. EFAs have a huge role to play in improving the lining of the womb by improving and increasing the blood flow to the reproductive organs. I get a lot of questions about when is the best time to use Omega 3, my answer to this is all the way through the cycle as your hormones and reproductive organs rely on it!
Every batch of Bare Biology fish oil is certified and awarded a 5-star purity and quality rating from International Fish Oil Standards. You can download our test results here.