- The Fertility Problem
- Female Factor Infertility
- Male Factor Infertility
- Nutrition And Fertility
- Plant-Based Diets Hurt Fertility
- Metabolic Health & Fertility (PCOS, Diabetes, & Insulin Resistance)
- Male Infertility & Obesity
- Micronutrient Status
- Like Supports Like (Beef Testicle Supplement for Him, Beef Ovaries, Uterus & Fallopian Tubes Supplement for Her)
Picture this, you’re 36 years old and have been married to the love of your life for a few years. You have a stable career, a house, a dog, and a car. Everything just feels right in your life, and for the first time, you truly feel ready to have kids. In agreement with your spouse, you start trying. The birth control is tossed. All contraception devices are off the table. You think of all the times you worried about a pregnancy before now, and feel excited to finally have it happen. You want to have kids. It’s finally the right time.
A month of trying goes by. Then two. The excitement wanes. Tension ensues. Still, you aren’t 19 anymore, so you just keep going.
When months become years, however, a new word creeps into your brain. A scary word. An insecure word. You can’t help but wonder. Are you infertile?
One of the biggest problems for modern humans is infertility. Infertility is increasing in prevalence for both men and women, and nutrition is a huge factor. As we’ll discuss, animal-based diets are incredible for fertility; the nutrients in meat are absolutely paramount for reproductive health, not to mention supporting a healthy pregnancy. Whether it’s for easing the symptoms of endometriosis in women, or supporting healthy sperm in men, animal based fertility is the best fertility.
I think one of the reasons an animal-based diet works so well for restoring fertility is because they actually provide us with the nutrients we need. Just recently we had an amazing story shared with the Heart & Soil Instagram. A woman named Italia had been struggling with fertility for 5 years before conceiving her first child. She and her husband went on trying to have a second child for 3 years after, with no success from the treatments used to conceive the first time around. She stopped all fertility treatments and started taking our supplements to support fertility. She is 12 weeks pregnant at the time of this writing, and credits animal-based nutrition with this success! Way to go Italia!
The Fertility Problem
Infertility is increasing in both men and women. Generally speaking, it is not actually that easy for humans to get pregnant. According to my friend and Ob/Gyn Dr. Jaime Seeman, most people have a 20% chance per month of getting pregnant if they are actively trying to do so. Jaime’s clinic diagnoses infertility when couples have been trying to conceive for a full year without success. Most of the time, the burden is placed on women, but in reality, 40 to 50% of cases where couples can’t conceive are because of male factor infertility. Check out my podcast with Jamie on fertility here.
According to the CDC, based on the Key Statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth, 8.8% of women between the age of 15 and 49 are infertile. Working with Jaime’s observations, this would mean just under that number of men are infertile.
Female Factor Infertility
When it comes to infertility in women, I’m not referring to infertility that results from menopause. Menopause is a phase of women’s lives where their body no longer prepares an egg for fertilization, and their cycle stops. This phase typically occurs in a woman’s late 40s or 50s, and she will no longer be able to have children beyond this point. This is an unavoidable and natural biological process.
During the years of fertility, before menopause but after puberty, women’s bodies are very attuned to their environment. Pregnancy is a biologically expensive process, and if the environment does not suit a pregnancy well, fertility drops. Too few calories in the diet, a drop in thyroid function, poor sleep, or chronically elevated cortisol can all lower one’s fertility. Your body can react to any of these factors by not releasing an egg during ovulation, or not producing the progesterone necessary to support fertilizing that egg.
A number of factors play into fertility in women. The first are structural disorders. These are factors such as polyps and other structural abnormalities that can be discovered using an ultrasound. Then there’s endometriosis, a condition that causes scarring and physical abnormalities in the uterus. This can cause symptoms of physical pain as well as significantly impaired fertility. Though this condition may be genetic in origin, I believe there is an immune factor at play. Clients of mine have found relief for endometriosis via animal-based diets. Removing seed oils and plant toxins from one’s diet is powerful for turning off immune conditions like psoriasis or eczema, and I think an autoimmune link may be why animal-based nutrition helps my endometriosis clients.
In most cases though, infertility is not the result of rare conditions like endometriosis. Instead, environmental factors are at play. For example Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is one of the most common conditions that leads to female infertility. In most cases, PCOS seems to be closely connected to insulin resistance, and Dr. Jaime has had almost total success treating PCOS with dietary changes.
Male Factor Infertility
Again, 40 to 50% of the time, not being able to get pregnant is because of male factor infertility. In men, the two biggest factors that cause infertility are sperm count and sperm function. If men have too low of a sperm count, the odds of a successful conception plummet.
Then we have issues with sperm quality. Impaired or poor motility in sperm can cause infertility. This refers to the ability for sperm to move in a straight line or at all. If sperm can’t move well or don’t move in a forward progression, this limits their likelihood of fertilizing an egg. Next, sperm morphology can come into play. Defects in the sperm itself result in sperm that cannot fertilize an egg, even if they reach it. According to Dr. Jaime, sperm morphology has been worsening in men. More and more men have higher amounts of defective sperm, and all of this can be linked to nutrition.
Nutrition And Fertility
Imagine the body is a garden. The nutrient status of the body is sort of like the soil in a garden. If the soil is depleted, dry, and low in resources, it is a bad environment for growing new life. If the soil is rich in resources, life flourishes. Like so, nutrition is essential for making our own bodies fertile. In women, PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility. Again, PCOS often coincides with insulin resistance. We can link this condition directly to one’s metabolic status as a result of diet in most cases. Next, micronutrients affect fertility in both men and women. Men without enough zinc are less likely to make healthy sperm, and in women, poor nutrition creates a bad environment for growing a baby.
Women’s reproductive health is highly attuned to the environment, and ovulation is likely to shut down if the adequate nutrients for a pregnancy are not present. It should surprise no one that animal-based diets are a phenomenal source of nutrition for supporting a pregnancy. Liver is the most nutrient dense food on earth, and provides great amounts of Vitamin A, Zinc, and growth factors that support reproductive health.
This is nothing to mention Omega 3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA, magnesium, iron, Vitamin D, the brain building nutrient choline, and a host of other nutrients that are supportive in fertility, and ample in an animal based diet.
Plant-Based Diets Hurt Fertility
Before we get into the weeds of animal-based nutrition, let’s talk about plants. Plant-based diets continue to gain popularity despite the lack of intervention studies to support their efficacy. On the other hand, we have decent evidence these diets are actually harmful in the long run, for general health as well as fertility.
To showcase this, let’s take a look at the men of Loma Linda, a Blue Zone and Seventh Day Adventist community that is primarily vegan and vegetarian. Correlation doesn’t equal causation, but in a study on fertility, men in this community who ate meat had much better sperm counts and much better sperm motility than their vegan counterparts.
This is no surprise. Zinc is a huge component of male health. Male ejaculate contains 2 to 3mg of zinc. If you aren’t eating meat, it is much harder to get enough zinc to support healthy sperm production.
In women, there are studies on vegans and vegetarians implying that fiber lowers fertility. Vegans who eat more fiber can lower their estrogen so much that they trigger anovulation (releasing premature eggs or not releasing an egg during ovulation.) As I’ve discussed in many articles and podcasts, you do not need fiber. Research does not support the need for fiber for gut health, and I have yet to see problems from a lack of fiber in myself and the thousands of people using animal based and carnivore diets around the world.
Then there’s the issue of bioavailability. The versions of vitamins and minerals in plants are less bioavailable than those in meat. Vitamin A is critical during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but plant-based Vitamin A is not easily absorbed at all. You’d need to eat a pound of sweet potato (the highest plant source of Beta-Carotene) for the RDA of vitamin-A from plants, as opposed to a few ounces of liver or egg yolks. That’s not even to mention that the more Beta Carotene you eat from plants, the less it converts to Vitamin A for your body.
Vegan diets are low in micronutrients, vitamin-A, DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids, contain no cholesterol whatsoever, and are low in B-vitamins.
Metabolic Health & Fertility (PCOS, Diabetes, & Insulin Resistance)
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder where women do not release an egg every month during their cycle. It is the most common hormone disorder among women of reproductive age, and it increases your risk of infertility. PCOS seems connected with insulin resistance, as 40% of women with PCOS will be type 2 diabetic by the time they are 40. Dr. Jaime and I talked about this problem extensively, and she has been successful treating her patients with PCOS with diet except in rare cases.
I believe that addressing metabolic health is a huge factor in treating PCOS. Animal based diets remove the inflammatory dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that I believe are the primary driver of insulin resistance. A few months of low-carb animal-based dieting is one of the best interventions for metabolic dysfunction. There are women who have good insulin sensitivity, are not obese, yet still have PCOS. Personally, I wonder if there is a role of dietary linoleic acid at play leading to insulin resistance at the level of the Ovarian cells. For patients with “skinny” PCOS, Dr. Jaime still finds that ketogenic and carnivore diets are helpful. If you have “skinny” PCOS, pay extra attention to the quality and sources of the fats you consume. Favor saturated fat from grass finished ruminant animals, such as our suet based fire starter supplement. Avoid polyunsaturated fats from seed and vegetable oils.
By favoring stearic acid from quality animal fats and avoiding seed oils, perhaps this is how diet could improve even “skinny” PCOS. I don’t know for certain, but there are certainly other ways animal-based nutrition can improve fertility regardless of insulin status.
Male Infertility & Obesity
Then we have male infertility and metabolic function. Increasing data is connecting metabolic dysfunction and obesity with infertility in men. In this study, overweight men were observed to have a 1.20 times higher likelihood of infertility, and obese men 1.36 times higher likelihood of infertility compared to men with a normal BMI.
In part, this appears to be due to impaired development of the sperm as well as problems binding to the egg of the female. This finding has been observed in obese rats as well.
Although current research is limited, a number of studies suggest male obesity decreases the chances of pregnancy and increases the chances of pregnancy loss. It is well known that obesity in men typically occurs alongside lower levels of testosterone, higher levels of estrogen.
What’s more, obesity in men may raise the risk of infertility in their offspring. Paternal obesity in rodents has been shown to negatively impact the metabolic and reproductive health of offspring.
Alongside metabolic function, I think micronutrient status is a huge factor in fertility problems. Animal based foods are rich in bioavailable nutrients necessary for hormone production, preparing for and successfully completing a pregnancy, and male fertility. Zinc is absolutely essential for male health and male sperm health, and red meat is one of the best sources of zinc you can access.
Organs have always been a keystone of a healthy human diet. Especially for something like fertility, organ meats are essential for providing your body with the exact, bioavailable nutrients it needs to support a pregnancy or for quality sperm.
For a complete nutrient profile, especially for fertility, organs are essential. For example, Vitamin A is crucial for supporting a healthy pregnancy, and Liver is one of the best sources of bioavailable Vitamin A, as well as b vitamins, phosphorus, copper and choline.
At Heart & Soil, our mission is to provide access to the incredible nutrient profiles available through eating organ meats, without having to source them yourself or learn to cook these uncommon foods.
Like Supports Like (Beef Testicle Supplement for Him, Beef Ovaries, Uterus & Fallopian Tubes Supplement for Her)
Like supports like. Radioisotope research implies that when you eat an organ from an animal, the nutrients from that food preferentially support those organs in your own body. This is in addition to the fact these organs contain almost exactly the nutrient profiles your organs need and use. Basically, if you eat liver, the nutrients will support your own liver more than other areas of the body. With this in mind, wisdom both ancient and modern supports the idea of eating the organs you are trying to support.
For fertility specifically, we recently released two of my favorite organ blends: Whole Package, and Her Package.
Whole Package is a phenomenal organ blend for supporting male and female health alike. It contains a high amount of beef testicle, which is prized throughout human history for its ability to support virility. Beef testicle is an amazing food for supporting male fertility with its high amounts of zinc and other essential nutrients. I think beef testicle is one of the best foods for supporting healthy hormone function.
As excited as I am for Whole Package, I’m truly stoked about our new supplement: Her Package. Her Package contains grass-fed & finished ovary, uterus, fallopian tubes, liver, and kidney. These foods have been used historically to ease and prevent cramping, support nutrition, and support female fertility. This product represents targeted support for female hormonal health.
Nutrition is inseparable from the topic of fertility. In the modern world of processed seed oils and a rapidly increasing number of vegans and vegetarians, fertility is at risk. I’m not saying there aren’t other factors involved. Fertility certainly isn’t helped by exposure to xenoestrogens in our plastics and household cleaners, nor is the stressful lifestyle of modern humans good for hormonal health, but nutrition is one of the biggest if not the biggest factor in our health.
Nose-to-tail, animal based nutrition is one of the greatest things you can do to support your health overall, male or female, especially when it comes to fertility.
Subscribe to future articles like this:
Thanks for subscribing. Please check your inbox to confirm.