Infinity Spine Center Blog

Fertility: What Doctors Aren’t Telling You

If you eat your breakfast outside, you may want to get some Kinikis. They allow near-maximum exposure when you’re getting that morning sun. 

Today more than ever, couples are faced with the modern epidemic of infertility. In the past, infertility was thought to be a woman’s problem. Now it’s known to affect men just as frequently.

Suboptimal stress and sex hormones, in both men and women, are typically blamed, but there’s more to the story. Here are some alternatives that your doctor probably isn’t telling you that you may want to consider to help you put the ball in the endzone whether you’re in a 4th and goal situation or you’re at your own 1-yard line with 14 seconds left on the clock.  

Fertility Begins with the S Word

Melatonin, known more for its effect on your sleep, can boost your fertility by its actions on your egg or sperm. 

Here’s how.

You make it, you probably don’t need to take it

Melatonin is a hormone produced from serotonin which comes from tryptophan (the amino acid you always hear about at Thanksgiving). Tryptophan is an amino acid that you get from certain protein-containing foods like nuts, cheese, and meats. The first step in the magic of creating melatonin happens in the morning when you expose yourself to the sun. UV light increases the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin. UV light along with with the sun’s effect on your dopamine levels is a significant reason you feel so freakin good when you’re at the beach. The other step in the magic of your brain creating melatonin is being in darkness. When you are in darkness, a part of your brain sends a signal to your pineal gland to start producing melatonin. You get sleepy. But there’s more. Melatonin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and this has enormous implications on the health of all your tissues, especially your reproductive parts. 

Light + tryptophan = serotonin. Darkness + serotonin = melatonin

Melatonin and the Ovaries

It’s commonly known that your pineal gland produces melatonin. But, the ovaries are also a site for melatonin production. It’s believed that melatonin in the ovaries has a protective effect from stress (oxidation) on the egg, especially during ovulation. There’s evidence of low ovary melatonin levels and it’s association with infertility.

Arousal game lacking? Get more zzz.

A study found that with every hour of increased sleep time, there was an increase in odds of sexual activity for couples. Greater genital arousal was reported in women with more sleep as well. Sleep for 9 hours instead of 6 for two weeks straight and see what happens. 

Be careful with this sentence in the study: “In contrast, sleeping longer predicted poorer next-day genital arousal.” That’s because the participants slept less on the next day! That would be like throwing a game-winning hail mary touchdown and then not going to practice the following week. Ya got no game like that! Go to practice!

Jetlag jacks your reproductive swag

There’s ample evidence from human and animal studies demonstrating circadian rhythm’s regulation on critical reproductive events. When there’s a disruption in circadian rhythm by exposure to abnormal light-dark cycles, reproductive capacity plummets. 

This is old news. The first evidence of circadian control of ovulation was more than 50 years ago. Why aren’t fertility experts telling you to avoid crappy light at night and get your bits and spots in the good light?

See references below for all kinds of nerdy fertility gems. 

Start doing these to help you put points on the board

Go to bed before 9 pm. We’ve already lost close to 90 minutes on the day since the end of June. This is your signal from the sun to start getting more sleep as we approach winter. Start your day by eating breakfast outside. You can’t make melatonin without serotonin and you need the sun to make serotonin out of tryptophan.  

Stress and misConception

If you’re running around with 87 things on your mind of what you need to get done most days, you’re probably fumbling your fertility mojo. This is because your brain has communication pathways to your glands that respond to stress and produce hormones that have a fertility role. 

A recent study showed that stress significantly reduced the probability of conception. Enzymes that are released at higher levels when stressed were measured. The women who had the highest levels of this particular stress enzyme were less likely to conceive. If you have chronic stress and fertility are like having Andrew Luck and Melvin Gordon in your fantasy football starting lineup. You’re not boomin’ like that.  

Signs of negative energy (cause or effect)

  • tiredness
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • poor sleep quality

Negative energy and stress prevent energy and nutrients from flowing to the reproductive organs to allow for pregnancy. Pay attention to your inner dialogue (For all my The Untethered Soul friends it’s that “roommate”). If it’s negative, do what you need to do to let that energy flow through you. Journaling and meditation are game-changers. Set aside uninterrupted time in your morning and evening to make this happen. 

Feet and fertility

Lastly, if you’re struggling to make things happen, take your freakin shoes off! 

Disclaimer: there are no studies on barefoot and fertility. This is a Cornerman hypothesis based on the wiring of our brains and acupuncture points in your feet. 

Birth control??

Whatchu talkin bout?

A term coined by nerdy neuroscientist friends called “spreading activation” phenomenon backs up your Cornerman’s foot/fertility hypothesis. Spreading activation is the result of local nerve excitement from the firing of close-by nerves. When you stimulate your feet, such as walking barefoot, you get excitement of the sensory nerves of the genitalia in your brain.  

Take a look (above) at how you’re wired!! You’re wired perfectly! 

This weekend marks the opening game of 2019 NFL season and the beginning of the Cleveland Browns Super Bowl run. Be sure to take some time out from watching the Browns beating up on the Titans and:

  1. get the good light on your body–all bits or spots if possible
  2. get to bed earlier (by 9 pm) as sunset is earlier
  3. avoid your cell, TV, and computer especially after sunset
  4. consciously dampen any negative emotion that may arise in times of chaos and when you get a chance, meditate or journal on anything that pops into your mind
  5. take off your shoes (and socks) any opportunity you get
  6. walk in gravel, grass, or sand barefoot daily

6 because #6 is about to light it up!

Have an awesome weekend!

Your Cornerman with love,

Dr. Thoma


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