February is heart month. What does heart health have to do with infertility? The same habits that contribute to heart disease also contribute to infertility.
High insulin levels
Insulin itself is an essential component to life. It carries sugar to every cell to the body and provides them with the energy needed to carry out cellular activities. When too much sugar is consumed, it causes insulin levels to spike and causes hormonal confusion for your ovaries.
The same hormone that causes your ovum to mature is structurally like insulin. When the insulin levels spike, the body confuses them with the ovum-maturing hormone and lowers the levels because it interprets the excess insulin as that hormone. Ovulation problems result and fertility problems can ensue.
Insulin resistance is also related to diabetes. The high glucose levels that contribute to insulin resistance also damage blood vessels which contribute to heart disease and increase the risk of stroke and heart failure.
By swapping out simple refined sugars such as candy, white bread or white pasta for more complex carbohydrates like fruit and whole grains, you’ll get a more controlled release of glucose into the bloodstream which will prevent insulin from spiking.
High Blood pressure
Hypertension, which indicates that the pressure in your arteries is higher than normal can cause heart complications such as heart attack or heart failure. In order to keep it under control, cardiologists may prescribe medication. Although medication helps control blood pressure, it can have an adverse effect on the fertility of the man or woman taking it.
In order to prevent or help alleviate the high blood pressure in conjunction to the plan of action prescribed by the patient’s doctor, it is recommended that sodium intake be lowered, stress-management mechanisms be employed, and caffeine be cut down. These are contributing factors to high blood pressure.
When LDL, which is the cholesterol that is bad for your health, is consumed in excess, it collects in the arteries. As it builds over time and narrows blood flow, hypertension, heart failure or heart attack results. High cholesterol also contributes to poor sperm health which makes conception more difficult for couples.
What can be done? In order to lower LDL, diet needs to be altered. Foods that contain LDL such as dairy, meat and eggs should be consumed in limited quantities. In order to increase HDL, which acts as the scavenger and takes the LDL back to the liver, more plant-based foods should be consumed, including vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds.
If you have trouble conceiving, it may be associated with your heart health. Contact Island Fertility today at 631.203.8928.