Despite the toxic environment we have created for ourselves, humans have evolved. However, evolution is still trying to catch up to such adverse conditions resulting in scores of physical challenges. One of these challenges has been infertility. Over seven million men and women are confronted with infertility in the United States alone. This has created a desperate search for a remedy resorting to invasive, potentially toxic medical approaches from in-vitro fertilization to surgery. It has also created a booming industry. Profits from infertility drugs and procedures are staggering with some costing in the hundreds of thousands and not covered by insurance. Approaching the cause of such diagnosed afflictions as hormone imbalance, low sperm count or endometriosis, acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been successful remedies.

Even more so, the United States has one of the highest infertility rates in the world while China has one of the lowest. To understand how a treatment for infertility is approached by a naturopathic doctor, these two hypothetic, case studies give a good perspective.

Case #1 – A forty-nine year old male is diagnosed with low sperm count and sperm motility. He was treated with hormones that had a negative, personality changing effect. Upon evaluation by a naturopathic doctor, a kidney yang deficiency was presented. The kidney is considered one of the primary organs for healthy reproduction. Kidney yang deficiency symptoms include lack of sexual desire, sexual dysfunction and impotence. Because this patient displayed this deficiency the treatment of tonifying the kidney and restoring yang was implemented.

This required acupuncture twice a week for six weeks and then once a week for two months; a kidney yang tonic called Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan which is a Chinese herb remedy made up of Chinese foxglove, a yam called dioscorea, peony root, and a wood fungus called poria.  After three months the patients sperm count and sperm motility had significantly increased. Today, he has a healthy two and half year old daughter.

Case #2 – A thirty-nine year old female is diagnosed as infertile due to endometriosis  (a cellular malfunction that causes pain, bleeding and in some cases, infertility; ‘endo’ means inside and ‘metra’ means womb).  Upon seeing a naturopathic doctor she was diagnosed as a pattern called, ‘congealed blood with phlegm accumulation’. This is a liver meridian blockage with dampness and water retention. Phlegm is pathological often due to diet such as over consumption of dairy. An accumulation of phlegm thwarts the balanced flow of Qi (life force energy) and blood.

A prescription of raw herbs (this is the most powerful form as it must be boiled and consumed as a tea), reduced phlegm causing foods such as the aforementioned dairy as well as sugar and ice cold drinks plus acupuncture twice a week was administered. Within four months the patient conceived. Note: naturopathic treatment for endometriosis alone will often reduce painful menstruation which was the first positive sign the patient experienced.

Although Chinese medicine and acupuncture are excellent remedies for infertility, there are also some western approaches.

Vitamins: Folic Acid (B6) – Studies show that an increase of B6 positively affected fertility in women (B12 improved low sperm counts).  Vitamin A – This vitamin has excellent antioxidant properties that can enhance gestation. Be sure and take the vegetable formula beta-carotene, because the vitamin A derived from animals which is called retinol, can carry potential risks. L-Carnitine – An amino acid paramount for improving sperm count and sperm motility. Vitamin C – This is a protector of sperm DNA and a powerful antioxidant.  Zinc – A protector of chromosome damage as well as enhancing the effects of the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Zinc is responsible for the outer layer and tail of the sperm. Low zinc in men has been attributed to a low sperm count. Essential Fatty Acids – Prostaglandins result from EFA’s which contribute to healthy sperm. Men low in prostaglandins exhibit abnormal sperm, low sperm motility and low sperm count. EFA’s are also essential for proper reproductive hormone functioning. Selenium – Important antioxidant for healthy chromosomes as well as increases sperm formation. L-Arginine – High amounts of this amino acid are found in the head of sperm. Increased supplements of arginine contribute to a higher sperm quality and count. Caution: If you suffer from herpes or cold sores do not take L-Arginine as it can activate these viruses.

An herb worth mentioning that contributes to helping restore hormonal imbalance that may be impeding fertility is the Chaste tree berry also known as Agnus Castus. In one study, forty-eight infertile women were given this herb for three months. Seven became pregnant during the study and twenty-five returned to normal progesterone levels. It works by stimulating the pituitary gland which controls hormone balance. Other results from Agnus Castus are menstrual regulation and balancing of excess estrogen. There is also the theory of digestive enzymes for age related infertility. It states that due to this condition, enzyme and hydrochloric acid levels are low causing a challenged digestive system. In turn, absorbing nutrition becomes sluggish. This can cause the eggs and ovaries to suffer the needed aforementioned vitamins and minerals such as folic acid and zinc. A Naturopathic Doctor may ask you to eat raw foods high in enzymes along with supplemental enzymes that contain lipase, protease and amylase which break down fats or lipids, proteins and carbohydrates, respectively.

Schedule your naturopathic or acupuncture appointment with Dr. Lisanti of Integrative Med Solutions (IMS).  It’s with the intention of inspiration and integrity that our highly trained doctor creates customized health plans that synergize the best of healing arts with contemporary natural medical science. IMS is located in Eastchester, New York with close proximity to New York City (also via Metro North railroad), Southern Connecticut and parts of New Jersey. Please call us at 914.337.2980 to make an appointment or feel free to contact us for an appointment or with questions.

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