Infertility is a common problem all over the world
“Congratulations! You will have a baby!” – for many, these words are an unattainable dream. According to statistics, today infertility is diagnosed in every fourth couple in developing countries (WHO, 2004) 1. Globally, 48.5 million couples experience infertility (Reproductive Biological Endocrinology, 2015) 1. Infertility affects 10% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the U.S. (CDC, 2019) 1. Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, and Eastern Asia have the lowest fertility rates in the world with an average of 1.5 children per woman (UNFPA, 2018) 1 1. About 30% of infertility cases can be attributed solely to the female, 30% can be attributed solely to the male, 30% can be attributed to a combination of both partners, and 10% of cases have an unknown cause (Fertility Answers, 2020) 1. Infertility can even mean pregnancy, but stillbirth or miscarriage, which are also often diagnosed. Infertility is also of great social importance and contributes to the occurrence of psychological illnesses 1. For example, infertility is one of the primary reasons for divorce among couples (International Journal of Reproductive Biomedicine, 2020) 1. Up to 60% of infertile individuals reported psychiatric symptoms with significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression than fertile individuals (Clinical Therapeutics, 2014)1. Nearly 41% of infertile women have depression and almost 87% of infertile women have anxiety (BMC Women’s Health, 2004) 1.
Infertility – definition and reasons
In medical terms, infertility is the absence of pregnancy even after frequent and unprotected sex for one year. Infertility can even mean pregnancy, but stillbirth or miscarriage, which are also often diagnosed and can affect both men and women 2.
Doctors distinguish between absolute and relative infertility. Absolute infertility means irreversible physiological changes in the reproductive apparatus (anomalies in the development of the pelvic organs, traumatic injuries, surgical removal of the gonads). And with relative infertility, it is most often possible to establish and eliminate the causes of disorders in the patient’s body. For example, scientists consider the most common causes of infertility to be chronic inflammation and hormonal disorders 3 that in their turn lead to different diseases. For example, ovulation problems of an inflammatory or hormonal nature (polycystic ovary syndrome, ovarian failure, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome), damage to the fallopian tubes and adhesions, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, early menopause, pelvic scar tissue, intoxication, and even cancer treatment may occur or severe psychological stress 3. Male infertility is most often the result of malfunctioning of the testicles, vascular contractility of the genitals, various inflammatory diseases of the pelvic organs 4. Reproductive health and sperm quality can also be affected by diabetes, metabolic syndrome, genetic defects, and exposure to toxic chemicals or pesticides in the environment. But sometimes the reason for men’s infertility and decreased libido can be associated with overwork and prolonged stress.
Chronic inflammation – the main reason for infertility
Inflammation and resolution of inflammation is a physiological process that is a normal and healthy response to short-term stress or trauma and is usually highly regulated, and controlled inflammation is indeed important for the implantation process. While chronic inflammation is no longer the norm, it is associated with many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and infertility. For example, the proportion of infertility related to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in developing countries is up to 85% 5.
While some endocrine illnesses affecting reproduction have autoimmune causes, such as diabetes and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, probably the best example of the relationship between ovulatory infertility and inflammation is a premature ovarian failure (POF) 5. About 50% of POF cases have been ascribed to autoimmune disease. Thus, ovulatory abnormalities may have a significant basis in inflammation. Autoimmune responses may contribute to the onset of endometriosis. Endometriosis results in tissue damage, production of antibodies against the endometrium, ovary, phospholipids, histones, and is associated with other autoimmune diseases such as thyroiditis or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and can cause infertility by producing adhesions that may result in tubal occlusion 6. Endometriosis may also be destructive to the germinal epithelium, decreasing the number of available oocytes. Endometriosis has a 10% incidence.
Oxidative stress and inflammation – “vicious circle”
It is known that inflammation and oxidative stress are inextricably linked 7. Oxidative stress is another physiological process normal for our body that occurs constantly in the body. Reactive oxygen species, which cause oxidative stress, are essential for many biological processes in the body. But if there is an imbalance in the pro-and antioxidative system, they can cause significant damage to DNA and cell membranes, leading to inflammation and cell death. At the same time, the mitochondria will naturally, first of all, suffer, which will lead to even greater oxidative stress, energy imbalance, and damage in all organs and systems, including infertility8, both in women and men. Moreover, men spermatozoa are most vulnerable to oxidative stress and oxidative DNA damage as these cells have limited antioxidant defence mechanisms and a limited capacity for detection and repair of DNA damage 9. In summary, it can be concluded that inflammation is a major cause of infertility affecting essentially all components necessary for reproduction.
Toxins cause diseases and infertility
Various toxins are of great importance in the occurrence of diseases. Environmental toxins are all around us: in water, air, soil, consumer products, and in our food. These are pesticides, organic chemicals, heavy metals, radiation, and others. We are all exposed to varying degrees of toxins, and these agents can have different effects on your body, including fatigue, headaches, joint pain, nausea, and an increased risk of cancer 10. A significant cause of the progressive loss of fertility is the increasing body load of environmental toxins in both men and women. When it comes to fertility, toxins can have several damaging effects. They can alter a woman’s endocrine system, affect the menstrual cycle, and accelerate the ageing of eggs 11. In early pregnancy, they can increase the risk of miscarriage or birth defects. Later in pregnancy, they can affect the growth of the fetus 10. In men, toxins can affect sperm count or quality. Moreover, toxins damage not only decreases natural fertility but also makes in vitro fertilization (IVF) much less likely to succeed.
Gut microbiota can control our fertility
During last years strong evidence about the tight connection between the gut microbiome and overall health appeared. Moreover, there are proofs of gut microbiome disbalance as a reason for men and women’s infertility. A study published in the Journal of Chemical Biochemistry Nutrition used metagenomic sequencing to examine genetic diversity in microbial communities found in 18 fertile women and 18 female patients with infertility 12. It was shown that the fertile group was found to have higher amounts of Bifidobacterium 13. In Nature Medicine, a new study by Qi et al. 14, provides exciting insights into how gut microbiota dysbiosis may drive the development of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and insulin resistance15. Host-bacterial interaction is also sex-dependent, as studies showed the ability of the microbiota to modulate gonadal sex hormones 16, putting forward the concept that gut microbiota dysbiosis may negatively affect reproductive fitness.
Is there a cure for infertility?
Today’s medicine offers many fertility treatments options. In vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), artificial insemination (AI), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and a combination of medications are all treatment options that have been very successful at helping people become pregnant. But all these treatment costs for infertility can range from $5,000 to $73,000 (Fertility and Sterility, 2011)1 and not always are successful. The average patient goes through two IVF cycles, bringing the total cost of IVF (including procedures and medications) between $40,000 and $60,000 (SingleCare, 2020) 1. It is clear that not all patients can afford such an expensive treatment. So, is there any hope of having a child?
Natural way to treat infertility
Survey data 1 says that two-thirds of respondents tried supplements, natural remedies, or alternative medicines to help them conceive. Additionally, almost half (48%) of respondents who successfully conceived and stayed pregnant as a result of fertility treatment also tried natural/alternative medicine options while seeking clinical treatment. 22% reportedly tried natural/alternative medicine in combination with clinical treatment and 9% reportedly tried natural/alternative medicine after clinical treatment was unsuccessful.
Natural treatment meant the restoration of the body with natural antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, lifestyle changes, alternative medicine, and the restoration of the microbiome with beneficial bacteria 17.
Of course, not in all cases, such treatment can help. For example, in the case of absolute infertility, surgery and serious hormone replacement therapy are required. But, as can be seen from the research data, in the case of relative infertility, both male and female, natural medicine can be successfully used both as monotherapy and in addition to other methods of treatment.
For example, as we wrote above, one of the main causes of infertility is chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases. And the well-known German supplement Immuno-m® can successfully modulate the body’s immune response, helping to cope with inflammatory processes and regulating immune responses. This was proved in different in vitro and in vivo investigations. Immuno-m® effectiveness is mediated by its direct influence on the key links of the inflammatory process 18 (macrophages, NK cells, cytokines) and the ability to correct the immune response. Mechanisms of Immuno-m® action make it possible to regulate immunity, which helps to cope with different types of inflammation in different organs.
Many investigations have suggested that oocyte and sperm modality might improve using antioxidants, which result in successful pregnancy increment 19. The well-known supplements Multi EM ferment® and Neotosil® contain a large number of polyphenols with an antioxidant effect. In Multi EM® ferment the ingredients of plant origin are broken down into such small particles that they are easily and optimally absorbed by the body. Neotosil® combines a targeted complex of bioavailable polyphenols with a complete nutrient spectrum. Bioactive vitamins C, E, B12, folic acid, and beta-carotene (provitamin A) with increased availability and highly concentrated antioxidant power fulfil the body and help to restore. So, these supplements help to reduce oxidative stress, restore impaired cellular and organ functions, which accordingly affects the patient’s fertility.
In addition, the Multi EM ferment® contains carefully selected effective microorganisms – EM, which mimic a healthy human intestinal microbiome and is capable of colonization. These various strains of beneficial bacteria restore and maintain microbiome balance and whole organism health.
As we mentioned above, toxins also can influence fertility. And today it seems to be impossible not to be polluted with different toxins as far as they are found in air, water, soil, cosmetics, cleaners, medicines, clothing, jewellery, and even children’s toys. Various intoxications can be eliminated with Zeostar® 20. Zeostar® contains zeolite-clinoptilolite that has long been known for its detoxifying properties and is widely used in modern medicine to cleanse the body. Special patented micronization technology enables the production of the finest zeolite powder. Zeostar® is one of the gentlest detoxification methods, which helps to cope with both external and internal toxins.
It is known that infertility in both men and women can also be associated with a lack of ATP energy, which is formed in the mitochondria due to NADH – an important cofactor for energy-providing reactions and cell growth 21. This form of energy is important for our life, for the repair system of our cells and DNA, and for physical and mental performance – no cell can exist without the energy of ATP. In case of energy deficiency, we can take Original NADH Instant Power® – a science-based supplement, produced in Germany. Also, Original NADH Instant Power® can act as a libido enhancer in men and women and can improve oocyte quality. It is known that due to hectic lifestyles people use up more energy than they have available. The consequence is that their “battery” is empty, and they can suffer from “burn-out syndrome.” In many cases, this condition also causes sexual dysfunctions, such as loss of sexual desire as well as erection problems. Many women suffer from loss of libido, not only during and after menopause but also at a younger age. The centre for sexual desire is not localized in the genital region in men and women, but in the brain—more precisely in the hypothalamus. Sexual arousal is triggered by dopamine. Low levels of dopamine in the hypothalamus induce a depressive mood, leading to inactivity and the loss of sex drive. Original NADH Instant Power® is scientifically proven to stimulate dopamine biosynthesis and consequently libido in men and women. In addition, NADH increases the production of nitric oxide (NO) causing an increase in blood flow to the genitals 22. Moreover, scientists have discovered that increasing NADH levels in mice improved the quality of oocytes with defects due to ageing 23.
So, Original NADH Instant Power® supplementation may reverse the damage done by ageing in the oocytes of women struggling to conceive and charge the battery of libido.
It can be summed up that a balanced diet, enriched with the necessary supplements to prevent disorders, a healthy lifestyle, and detoxification is vital for a healthy body and reproductive system, and will help you to get pregnant. Controlling inflammation and oxidative stress in the body and making positive lifestyle changes can help increase fertility and prepare the body for pregnancy.
Dr. Oksana Klymenko M.D., PhD, SNHS Dip. (Holistic Nutrition), Medical Doctor, Researcher in the fields of molecular physiology and pathophysiology, molecular biology, genetics, cell biology