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Improving Fertility Through Lifestyle w/ Ayla Barmmer

Improving Fertility Through Lifestyle w/ Ayla Barmmer

Today we’re talking all about improving fertility through lifestyle with Ayla Barmmer. Ayla is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner, and the owner and president of Boston Functional Nutrition, an integrative and functional nutrition practice based in Concord, MA that specializes in women’s health and infertility.  She is the co-host of Real Food Radio, a podcast about supporting your health naturally and living a life you love. 


 

In this episode, we’ll talk about:

  • Whether or not women should be worried about having children at a later age 
  • Strategies for improving fertility in women AND men
  • Herbs and supplements that help
  • Lifestyle practices to improve egg and sperm quality 
  • Ayla’s exact preconception protocol, which has an incredible 80% success rate!
  • & MORE! 

Resources: 

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Our podcast is released every week. In each episode, we cover tips and tricks for making lifelong sustainable healthy living changes to upgrade your diet and health. We also interview leading experts in the field of health and nutrition. We hope you enjoyed this episode, and we’ll catch you next time!

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Speaker 1:                       

The following podcast is a Dear Media production.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Hey, it’s Wendy.

Jessica Jones:                  

And it’s Jess and you’re listening to the Food Heaven podcast.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Your online resource for a delicious and nutritious living.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Hey everyone, thanks so much for tuning in to another episode of the Food Heaven podcast with Wendy and Jess.

Jessica Jones:                

Hey guys. Today we have a special guest and that is Ayla Barmmer. And Ayla is a registered dietitian, nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner, and the owner of Boston Functional Nutrition, an integrative and functional nutrition practice based in Concord, Massachusetts. That specializes in women’s health and infertility. She’s also the cohost of Real Food Radio, a podcast about supporting your health naturally and living a life that you love. Her most recent undertaking has been as the co-founder of the Women’s Health Nutrition Academy, in collaboration with Lily Nichols, who’s an RD and CDE diabetes educator, and who we’ve also had on the podcast. So we’re super excited to have Ayla with us today. Welcome to the podcast Ayla.

Ayla Barmmer:               

Hey ladies, thank you so much for having me.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Yay. Thanks for joining us. We’ve heard so many amazing things about you. And Lily told us to reach out to have you on the podcast. And there were so many topics that we wanted to cover, but before we get started, can you just share with our listeners a little bit about how you came into working with women’s health, and then fertility as a dietitian?

Ayla Barmmer:               

Yeah, sure. So I’ve had sort of a meandering dietetics career, that’s really taken me throughout a number of niches. So I’ve gone from designing and teaching nutrition curriculum in the Philadelphia school system, to corporate wellness management for a Fortune 500 company. To even, well, I basically left the field entirely briefly to work project management, which I was horrible at actually. But I did that for a while, until I found integrative and functional medicine, which really got me excited about working as a dietitian again. And I started training in that about eight years ago, and I’ve never stopped being excited about the work that I do since then, it was a real pivotal point for me in my career.

Ayla Barmmer:               

I opened my practice shortly after that. And over time I’ve gone from being like a very general practice, I was kind of a jack of all trades, that was really seeing anything and everything. From kids with autism to just people throughout their lifespan. But I’ve really found my true love, my passion in women’s health, and particularly in fertility. Because a functional medicine approach to fertility just has always made sense to me. You’re trying, with functional medicine, you’re really getting at the root causes of issues. Like with fertility for example, you can take Clomid if you aren’t ovulating. That might be, for those of your listeners who are listening, who have been on a fertility journey, they may be familiar with that medication.

Ayla Barmmer:               

And it’s a bandaid to help stimulate your body into ovulating. But it doesn’t get at the underlying issue, so that’s what a functional medicine approach does. So when I started getting referrals from a local fertility clinic to my practice, and actually they were referring just solely for weight loss because I think that’s kind of in the conventional realm where the buck stops, in terms of how they think nutrition plays a role in fertility. But I think we’ll get into talking about more ways in which it does in this episode. But I really just realized that applying a functional medicine approach to infertility issues can have a huge impact. So I’ve loved working in this niche since then.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Awesome. I love it. And it’s so good that you kind of got reinvigorated and found what got you excited about being a dietitian because I know that sometimes that’s needed. But there’s so much that you can do within this career. So let’s talk about what the science says in terms of fertility. So as a woman in my 30s, you often hear that the clock is ticking and it’s like you have to get pregnant now or never. There’s always articles circulating everywhere. And so I find it to be very confusing. So can you talk about kind of what does the most up to date science have to say about this, and is it true that there is an age where fertility significantly declines?

Ayla Barmmer:               

Yeah, that’s a great questions. I think a lot of women feel in the same boat and that’s something that I hear from clients. So I mean, first I’ll preface the answer by saying that more and more women are choosing to have babies at older ages. It’s a trend that’s been seen in the data since at least the 1980s, and it’s been growing every year. And that’s true in the US, and also Europe and Canada. And actually that decision, from a social sciences kind of perspective, could be celebrated in some ways because there’s some good research that it may be better for children to have slightly older parents, presumably because it often means more established and stable relationships potentially, and a higher likelihood of financial security. But that’s more in the social sciences research that I’ve followed just out of interest.

Ayla Barmmer:               

But in terms of my area of expertise, what I can say is that the answer is it’s a yes and a no to the question, does fertility decline with age? So yes, without being strategic about your diet and lifestyle, and effectively mitigating the risks that aging has on really egg and sperm quality specifically. Then statistics do show that fertility begins to decline throughout the 30s and a little more sharply at age 40. So chances of conceiving reduces and the chances of pregnancy loss and likelihood of genetic issues increases.

Ayla Barmmer:               

But before we get too dark with that, the reason I said yes and no is that there’s proven and evidence-based ways to protect and improve both egg and sperm quality at any age, which again mitigates the risk substantially. Just to elaborate on that, contrary to common beliefs that are perpetuated, I think especially even by health professionals, damage to eggs and sperm, which is largely due to chromosomal errors, some of the genetic changes that can happen over time, isn’t just an inevitability with age, or only a result of the aging process. So in other words, it’s not just the hand we’re dealt, it’s a modifiable risk factor. And we know this because in the research we see a huge difference in egg and sperm quality, egg quality specifically, between women of all ages, so not just older women.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Okay. And then with complications, because I know you mentioned the chromosomal abnormalities, and I know that there’s a big fear among older women that they might have a baby if they choose to have a baby at a later age, that their baby might be born with defects or complications. So what does the science have to say about are there certain conditions to look out for, for women that do decide to have a baby at a later age?

Ayla Barmmer:               

Yeah, so I mean, again, if you look at just the straight statistics without thinking about, okay, how can I like mitigate these risk factors? You do see a higher rate of chromosomal errors, a higher likelihood of miscarriage, a higher likelihood of down syndrome and other genetic abnormalities as a woman ages through the 30s, but really more significantly at age 40. But what I think is really empowering to know is when in the process you can make a difference and why that’s happening. So a big reason for chromosomal errors is sort of a result of the conditions shortly after ovulation. So just to kind of back it up and explain, I mean most of your listeners and you guys you’re probably familiar with or have heard before you’re born with all of the eggs that you have available, to use throughout your life.

Ayla Barmmer:               

And that’s true, except it’s more like you’re born with all the cells that will develop into mature eggs over the course of your life. And there’s this journey that the cells take to develop before ovulation, that happens over roughly a 100 day period. And it’s on that journey where the egg is more prone, and where the egg really does accumulate the majority of those chromosomal errors. And so it’s actually that window. So we used to think, and a lot of health practitioners are still kind of saying this, despite the research, that these sort of abnormalities develop over the course of a lifetime, and just there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s just a result of the aging process, and the age you are, it determines your risk factor.

Ayla Barmmer:               

But really what we’re seeing in the research is it’s what you do in those 100-ish days, four months I’d say, prior to conceiving that makes the biggest difference. And I guess the reason why I’m talking about all this as the dietitian, because some people might be kind of wondering like where’s the nutrition connection here? Where am I going with this? But during those 100 days, that’s when nutrition and lifestyle interventions have a huge impact on reducing the rate of these chromosomal abnormalities and improving egg quality.

Jessica Jones:                  

Wow. This is so interesting to me. So you said that both young and older women may be at risk to have these abnormalities.

Ayla Barmmer:               

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jessica Jones:                  

How does somebody know if they’re high risk? I mean like it seems like you only know when you are trying to get pregnant and then having a problem and then get further testing. But is there any other way to know if you are likely to be high risk, or have complications?

Ayla Barmmer:               

Yeah. Right. So some of this is a little stealthy, you may not know. But some things that put you more at risk. I mean the way to think about it is… And I always describe this to my clients in this way, is that the body is always going to prioritize pretty much everything else over reproductive functioning and egg quality so to speak, and that’s part of that. Because that it can be down-regulated or up regulated, right? Based on environmental conditions. That’s just how our bodies are designed to work, that served us well throughout millennia.

Ayla Barmmer:               

So the way to kind of think about it is there other stress, inflammation, nutrient deficiencies going on in your body, that are taking resources away? Particularly taking antioxidant resources away, to deal with. So sometimes like chronic illness, or I often screen clients who are considering conceiving or having trouble conceiving for issues with their digestive health. I think a lot of women have had for years digestive health issues, that have caused a lot of problems, but never have really dealt with it and gotten a handle on it. And I’ve found in my practice that doing that really greatly improves fertility outcomes as one area.

Ayla Barmmer:               

So broadly speaking you’re really wanting to assess nutrient deficiencies, potential for those. Has your diet been inadequate and kind of more inflammatory for a long time? Has your lifestyle been exceptionally stressful? Have you had chronic illness? These are all things that are going to put you at a slightly higher risk. I’d also say, and let me just add one more in there that we often hear a lot about being overweight and that inhibiting fertility, but what I see is there’s a lot of women who are actually under-nourished, under-eating, over-exercising in an effort to try to be healthy, but they’re actually, they’re harming their fertility in that way too.

Jessica Jones:                  

Yes, I see that. And I think people probably would be surprised. I see the same thing like in the patients that I see. So many of them, like you were saying, when you’re over-exercising and under-eating, the body kind of shuts off the menstrual cycle. And a lot of them I feel like they’re not making able to make that connection between… Usually for me, for my patients that are runners, and they’re running 50 miles a week, or more. And they’re not eating enough carbs. And so yeah, nutrition is so important. Making sure that they’re getting the calories they need, to match the exercise. And so their body’s not constantly in a state of like a deficit.

Ayla Barmmer:               

Oh yeah. I mean the metabolic system and the reproductive system, they’re always talking to each other, and they’ll up-regulate or down-regulate. So your reproductive system functioning will be turned down or up based on metabolic needs. So if you’re overdoing it you’re going to see your hormones thrown off.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Yeah. So for women, this is really what we want to pick your brain about. And I think what most listeners will find helpful. So for women who are like, “Okay, I want to prepare for pregnancy, what are some things that I should start doing now?” And I think you mentioned the four month period is really ideal. So can you talk a little bit about that? Some lifestyle changes that people can start incorporating to improve their fertility?

Ayla Barmmer:               

Yeah, definitely. So there’s some priority areas for sure. I mean number one, I would say don’t wait to start a quality prenatal supplement when you find out that you can conceived because it’s really too late in a lot of ways. Because during the early, early kind of embryo development phase, there is some key critical nutrients that are needed in high amounts and good supply that are often depleted by medication use, lifestyle, genetics. And so definitely make sure that you’re on a quality prenatal at least four months, if you could do six months or longer prior that’s going to really serve you well. And something that specifically has enough choline, folate, B12, B6, magnesium, those are some of the key nutrients.

Ayla Barmmer:               

And then I would also say get your vitamin D levels checked. You’d be surprised, even if you live in a sunny climate. For genetic reasons, or because of race, or a whole host of other reasons you can be deficient in vitamin D. And vitamin D is really like a hormone in how it acts in our body, and it’s critical for fertility. And they’re fighting for proper ovulation and even egg quality. So get your vitamin D levels checked and figure out based on that where your levels need to be supplement wise.

Ayla Barmmer:               

Diet wise, this is definitely the time to make sure that your diet doesn’t have any big gaps in it, you’re not doing extreme diets. I love utilizing so a free tool like Cronometer, to just have clients plug in some typical days, and we can sort of see where are the big gaps in the diet nutrient wise, and start filling those in. I will say, for listeners that are vegan or vegetarian, it’s worthwhile, and this is where Lily’s Nichols book might be good. And listening to that podcast episode that you guys did, I’m sure she probably covered this a little bit. Is a good idea and kind of following that diet preconception just makes sense. But considering adding in a minimum some eggs and or fish during that preconception time, and also during pregnancy can have a huge impact. That’s diet wise. I’ll stop there but I could definitely talk lifestyle too.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Yeah. I have a quick followup question with the fish because I know Lily talks about this as well, how there’s limitation on the amount of fish that women should consume preconception, and especially when a woman is pregnant. Do you have anything to say about that? What the science says? And is it really like up to two times a week? What do you think?

Ayla Barmmer:               

Yeah, so I think it’s important to be mindful about the seafood choice itself. So what we’re kind of concerned with, right is typically toxins as well and more specifically heavy metals that are found in fish. But there are a lot of fish, particularly the smaller ones, that are low, have a much lower risk. There’s the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch has a great resource, where they do give sort of a rating and some really helpful, I think consumer guides on some of the most problematic fish. I mean I know I recommend to my clients avoid during this time mackerel, swordfish, but those are really the only two.

Ayla Barmmer:               

That, and then there’s companies like Safe Catch, I think that’s what it’s called, Safe Catch. And they do some testing on their seafood products too for heavy metal contamination. But just to keep it in perspective, it’s a much greater risk to be low in DHA and other fatty acids preconception, from both an egg quality standpoint, to having your body be prepared for that fetal development period, the initial first trimester. A much bigger risk to be deficient in fatty acids than it is to eat fish. And it’s important to know that fish is absolutely the best source of fatty acids.

Ayla Barmmer:               

There are Omega-3s in plant-based sources, but our bodies are pretty inefficient or much less efficient at converting those into the active form that we need. So fish is going to be your best choice. And in terms of heavy metal, the last note about that, heavy metal contamination, you’re more at risk with choosing a supplement that’s not a good quality, a prenatal supplement that’s not been thoroughly tested for heavy metal contamination, than you are from seafood in my opinion, from what I’ve seen from the research.

Wendy Lopez:                 

So would you say that having some of the options that you mentioned, like the smaller fish, having that even everyday would that be okay?

Ayla Barmmer:               

In my opinion, yeah. It is. And I think it’s supportive and a good idea.

Jessica Jones:                  

Okay. Are there any brands that you recommend? Because I know for some of the women that I work with, they’re always wondering what’s a good prenatal vitamin. Do you have any brands that you like, to recommend to people?

Ayla Barmmer:               

Yeah, so I’m going to be a little biased here because I… Well, so this has been a bit of a passion project of mine over the past few years, but I’ve been and it’s not available yet, but I am developing my own prenatal supplement.

Jessica Jones:                  

That’s exciting.

Ayla Barmmer:               

I won’t waste too much time here to talk about it. But the idea being, I really feel like there’s a major gap between what’s being marketed, what’s out there and what’s actually evidence-based. Between the amounts, the forms, the ratios of the nutrients, and then the testing. Actually thoroughly testing for contaminants is actually something that is not done regularly in the supplement industry widely, but definitely there was a big research study in Canada that showed the majority of the prenatals on the market had excessive levels of heavy metals. That was a little scary.

Ayla Barmmer:               

So that’s the biggest concern. So what I suggest is trying to work with a practitioner, like a dietitian, who has access to the professional lines, which generally are going to be doing the extra levels of testing and their due diligence, and have a lot more transparency around their products. And I know that’s tough, a little tough to as a recommendation because it’s not as easy as just going to a pharmacy and grabbing something, or the grocery store. But it’s so important to get the right fit. So I think a professional brand is a good idea.

Ayla Barmmer:               

I do generally like Seeking Health as an option, for a direct to consumer option. They’ve got their optimal prenatal. But yeah, I’m not aware. I ask for their heavy metal testing, I don’t always kind of get it. So I’m not totally sure about that with them.

Jessica Jones:                  

Awesome. Okay. So it sounds like what women can do is making sure they’re getting all the nutrients that they need. I love the Chronometer app as well, I use it all the time. It also sounds like making sure you’re getting a good balance of nutrition and exercise, but not overdoing it. Okay, so we talked about kind of what women can do and I feel like the focus is often on women when it comes to contraception or even preventing pregnancy. But is there anything that men can do as well that may aid in the process?

Ayla Barmmer:               

Yeah, definitely. So the female reproductive system and all the different variables with fertility with women is more complex for sure. So it’s a more… I don’t find the right word, but it’s a really intricate process. And eggs are actually pretty phenomenal overcoming, to a certain extent, any damage in the sperm. But it helps significantly if men are in good health and their sperm is of good quality too for conception. And ultimately both in the egg and the sperm come together and kind of-

Jessica Jones:                  

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Wendy Lopez:                 

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Ayla Barmmer:               

… Provide genetic information, right? That’s going to affect the health of the pregnancy, the baby long term. So it makes a lot of sense to focus on men in this picture too, and not put all the burden on women. And so for men, it’s all about antioxidants, antioxidants, antioxidants. Sperm are very sensitive to oxidative damage, and part of the problem is they’re not able to repair their own membranes when they get damaged. So once it’s been damaged it has been. And sperm develop over about an 80-ish day cycle, so it’s a little bit shorter than egg development.

Ayla Barmmer:               

And so it’s just really important to infuse tons of antioxidants in the diet. Lots of Omega-3 fatty acids, so that fish oil and fish consumption is also really important for men, and to reduce oxidative burden, right? So things like excessive, I think alcohol intake, or smoking, a lot of processed food, and refined oils, and things like that would be some other areas that I’d focus on with men.

Jessica Jones:                  

Great. And you mentioned the prenatals, which you have to let us know when yours come out because they sound like they’re going to be amazing. And I want to take one and I’m not even trying to have a baby.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Right, me neither.

Jessica Jones:                  

Just for general health. Okay. So outside of the prenatals, in line with the functional medicine approach, are there herbs that you recommend? Supplements that help with fertility?

Ayla Barmmer:               

Yeah, so that that does wind up becoming a very individual based thing, but herbs can be tremendously helpful. But I will point out one in particular that listeners maybe familiar with, and you guys probably have heard of too, it’s chaste tree berry. It’s also referred to sometimes as just by vitex, which is more of its Latin name. If you do a Google search, you’ll start to see that coming up and a lot of people have success with it. A really awesome women’s health fertility herb, however if it’s not taken at the appropriate dose or time in the cycle, it can really mess with fertility too. So that’s just one that I think people should be aware of.

Ayla Barmmer:               

But there are certainly more nourishing, safe, nice, herbal things that I think can be added preconception. Like maca, shevary, let’s see, reishi, some of those medicinal mushrooms that are really popular right now can be nice, they’re really nutrient dense. I love in the preconception period recommending teas, that are super mineral rich and nutrient rich. It’s just kind of a tonic, a fun way to get in a little more bang for your buck nutrition wise, if people are into a teas and doing it. Things like raspberry leaf and nettle leaf. A passion of mine is herbs, and I’ve done a lot of additional training in herbalism, so I oftentimes will formulate teas like that. But I think raspberry leaf, a tulsi, holy basil, tulsi and nettle, that’s an awesome tea preconception.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Love nettle tea. We used to work at a farmer’s market in the Bronx and there was a farmer who I really liked, his name was Ben. Remember Ben?

Jessica Jones:                  

Mm-hmm (affirmative). I do.

Wendy Lopez:                 

He used to make nettle tea.

Jessica Jones:                  

Okay, so let’s talk about things that can negatively affect fertility. So you mentioned kind of like smoking or inflammation, but are there any other things that we should be on the lookout for if we are trying to conceive?

Ayla Barmmer:               

Yeah, I think one really big area to focus on would be environmental diet and environmental toxin exposure. So the heavy metals, the pesticides, herbicides, plastics. And with plastics we’re talking like beyond BPA here. So I know it’s a step in the right direction to choose BPA free, but unfortunately what they’re replacing it with, we don’t know. And I think there’s some emerging evidence that some of the BPA replacements are worse. Phthalates, which are common in personal care products, and perfumes, and cleaning products. So in the preconception period, and really at any period, honestly, in life, I think it’s a good idea to try to clean up the environment and the diet.

Ayla Barmmer:               

I know that can be the most overwhelming and sort of anxiety producing kind of area to make changes in because it can feel like, how can I possibly change everything that I really need to? But a couple of big bangs for your buck type of things that I usually recommend to clients are, one, BPA is a known endocrine disruptor. It was actually introduced into the market as an estrogen replacement originally, and then they sort of nixed that and it started getting used for plastics somewhere along the way. And one of the biggest sources that people don’t always know, it’s plastic but it’s also thermal printed receipts, so that you get from the grocery store, like anywhere. And so if you touch that, and I think when you go buy a meal or something, you’re touching the receipt and then you’re touching your food, that can be a significant dose of BPA right there.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Oh wow.

Jessica Jones:                  

Yeah. Because they’re also not biodegradable.

Ayla Barmmer:               

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right, right. Yep. And I think of it as the four… So that’s one specific tip, but broadly think about like four areas, I call it the four P’s. So plastics, pollution, personal care products, and I think past pesticides is really the fourth one. I should know that off the top of my head. But yeah, so thinking about those areas and just try to make some small tweaks in each of them. We did a podcast on some of the biggest areas too, if listeners are interested just on the four P’s because it can be overwhelming. But that’s something that can definitely negatively impact fertility, you can change, and it makes a huge difference.

Ayla Barmmer:               

Then I think again, if you’re taking a poor quality prenatal that either has insufficient nutrients or it’s not well absorbed nutrients, or it’s contaminated, that’s a problem. Too little body fat, or under-eating. Broadly speaking, things that are going to cause stress on the body. So again, if you’ve had digestive issues for years, now’s the time to address that because your microbiome ultimately affects baby’s microbiome, but digestive issues and inflammation in the gut can certainly affect fertility as well.

Jessica Jones:                  

I’m assuming that you get a lot of folks who are having fertility issues, and maybe even have tried some more conventional approaches. Do you find that you have high success rates with doing these more functional approaches to fertility?

Ayla Barmmer:               

Yeah, I’m excited that you asked that question because I’m really proud of my success rates. So I’m in the consistently getting between like 80 and 90%.

Jessica Jones:                  

Wow.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Wow. That’s huge.

Ayla Barmmer:               

Yeah. Yeah. And it really is. So there’s a huge spectrum of fertility issues and approaches, and it’s totally a individualized approach that I’m doing. That’s what I attribute to the success rates, there’s not a simple protocol completely that can be mass marketed. But nevertheless, that can be the success rate without having to go through the extremely financially, physically, mentally draining sort of conventional methods.

Ayla Barmmer:               

I mean I do work with clients and couples who want to sort of just optimize things for the more conventional interventions, like an IVF. They may already be kind of on that track. And I do that, I absolutely do that. But your IVFs, your IUIs, I mean, generally speaking it’s around a 40% success rate nationwide, so it’s not great.

Wendy Lopez:                 

So then for people that are considering, let’s say they’re trying to lifestyle interventions, for that small percentage that the lifestyle stuff isn’t really working for them and the functional nutrition isn’t really working for them. What are some of the most common methods? I know you mentioned IVF, so what are some others that women typically seek or partners usually seek when trying to get pregnant?

Ayla Barmmer:               

Yeah. So oftentimes it starts with a Clomid, or a Letrozole, or something like that to stimulate ovulation, to stimulate more follicle production. Juicer follicles is how I usually hear it described in the medical community. So medications like that will do that. I think I’ve said it’s not without a downside. Some of the side effects of that are significant, and I see cycle disruption and issues post those cycles, but in other cases it also works. I still would argue get to the root cause though of why ovulation is not happening properly, and you’re going to wind up with a much healthier pregnancy overall. But that is an option.

Ayla Barmmer:               

Then there’s IUI, and I would say kind of the next step up from there is IVF. And there’s a huge range of methodology and different approaches to all of those interventions, and so different clinics will have different approaches. So if you are considering that and you feel like that’s the next step for you, I think interviewing fertility clinics, really understanding different approaches, maybe consulting with someone who really understands like the different options too, is a good idea because you’re going to see a lot of variation, and it’s a good idea before you invest in that.

Ayla Barmmer:               

But I would recommend if you find you’ve done what you feel like you can from a natural approach to address the issue, make sure that you do see a provider and rule out a few of the biggies. Like thyroid issues for both partners, celiac disease, vitamin D deficiency. You’d be surprised by how many fertility issues can be resolved by proper vitamin D repletion. Stealthy sort of infections, like chronic UTIs or kidney infections. For men, they should definitely rule out varicose seals, which is a really common enlargement of the veins in the scrotum, which can cause issues. And then women, a fertility clinic may also, before you ever get to something like an IVF, they’ll rule out if your tubes are blocked, if they’re scar tissue that’s causing issues in the reproductive system too.

Jessica Jones:                  

Wow. So I think we both learned so much today. This was awesome. Yeah, very informative. So for people who may want to work with you or just learn more about what you’re doing, where can they find you?

Ayla Barmmer:               

Yeah, so my website and my information about my practice is at bostonfunctionalnutrition.com. And I do work with clients all over the US and abroad, virtually. And then locally I have a podcast, Real Food Radio. And then if there’s any health professionals listening or dietitians, Lily Nichols and I co-founded the Women’s Health Nutrition Academy. And if you’re kind of thinking this egg quality, sperm quality thing is interesting to you, or even if you’re a very savvy person and who likes the research, over at the Women’s Health Nutrition Academy website we’ve got continuing education, and I’m doing a fertility series over there for a CEU credits.

Jessica Jones:                  

Wow. Thank you so, so much for joining the Food Heaven Podcast today. We really appreciated having you on.

Ayla Barmmer:               

Oh, thank you guys so much for having me.

Wendy Lopez:                 

All right, bye Ayla.

Jessica Jones:                  

Bye.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Thank you so much for tuning into another episode of the Food Heaven podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please do us a huge favor and leave us a review in iTunes right now. The more reviews we get, the higher we’re ranked in iTunes, which means we reach more people. Listen up to this listener review. As a youngish black woman, who is studying to become a registered dietitian, this podcast is a very inspirational. Sometimes I really need some extra inspiration for those days when I’d rather do anything but go to my organic chemistry class. Thank you.

Wendy Lopez:                 

And thank you so much to all of you who took the time, and take the time to leave a review like this one. We really appreciated it. And if you haven’t already, please drop us some stars and some love.

Jessica Jones:                  

Yep. And you can also connect with us online we’re @FoodHeavenShow, our podcast is released every Wednesday. In each episode we cover tips and tricks for making lifelong sustainable healthy living changes to upgrade your diet and health. We also interview leading experts in the field of health and nutrition, to pick their brains on how to cultivate a healthy life that you love. We hope you enjoyed this episode and we’ll catch you next time. Bye.

Wendy Lopez:                 

Bye.

 

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2 Comments on Improving Fertility Through Lifestyle w/ Ayla Barmmer

  1. Avatar
    Eli Cabrera
    January 8, 2019 at 2:53 pm (2 years ago)

    Thanks for the wonderful information and podcast. Definitely backed my macro lifestyle as a must for my wife since she is working. Especially since she doesn’t count at all and i know from experience that it can slow affect how you perform in workouts and just everyday activities.

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Ayana
    January 11, 2019 at 7:27 pm (2 years ago)

    I really enjoyed this episode! I’m an RDN in my mid-thirties and have done some of my own research on the topic. I assumed that she would talk about CoQ10 just a little bit. Is there a reason why she didn’t. Research has shown that it plays an important role in egg and embryo quality by improving energy production. Theralogix has high-quality preconception vitamins and prenatal vitamins that seem to always be in stock since the guests’ weren’t available for purchase. RDs are very involved with the research that they do there.

    I also really found the men’s fertility tips very useful. We have been focusing on me, which is probably pretty common among couples.

    Thanks!

    Reply

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