Omega 3-6-9: Essential for Fertility and Pregnancy
The basic thing to know when you are looking to improve fertility is the importance of a healthy diet.
Natural, raw (or as little processed as possible), good quality food (i.e. organic, straight from the garden or local producer) should be part of the diet, as much as possible. This provides your body with as many nutrients as possible essential for its proper functioning, health in general, and most importantly fertility and maternity.
However, in today’s fast paced world, healthy food is often sacrificed. No time to cook well, no energy to go to the market, no desire to spend 30 minutes in the kitchen…
Yet, getting back to these basics is often the key to boost fertility and ensure a beautiful pregnancy and a healthy baby.
There are many nutrients essential for good fertility (and a good pregnancy) and fatty acids play a major role in this.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
Fat has been widely demonized for many years. To such an extent that this fact is now so deeply rooted in our beliefs that it is difficult to leave the fat the place (of choice) it should occupy in our diet.
Fortunately, things are starting to change in the field. Fat is good for us (and even essential!), if it is from a good source of course!
EFAs are 3 of these “good fats”. To maintain optimal health, it is important to consume EFAs every day.
There are 3 different types of unsaturated fatty acids:
- Omega 3
- Omega 6
- Omega 9
The intake of omega 3 and 6 is essential to the body, unlike omega 9, which we can synthesize under the action of certain enzymes. However, there are some cases where the body is not able to produce enough omega 9 by itself and, therefore, it is important to cover the needs with good dietary intake.
Just like the omega 3 and 6 that our body does not naturally produce.
Check out olive oil for fertility.
But where can we find these Essential Fatty Acids?
There are many food sources but also interesting supplements to ensure good coverage of these different EFAs. Their relative proportions must be respected to ensure optimal functioning of our body.
There are good ratios of omega 3 in linseed oil (or freshly mixed linseed), walnut oil (or fresh walnuts), camelina oil, hemp oil, rapeseed oil, palm oil returning to perilla oil.
Once opened, these oils must be kept in the refrigerator (to avoid oxidation/rancidity) and consumed exclusively raw (no cooking therefore).
Put some on the menu every day, with your raw vegetables at the beginning of the meal.
Regarding animal feed, fatty fish should be on the menu once a week, giving priority to small fish (sardines, mackerel, herring, anchovies).
Fatty fish oils (cod, shark liver etc…) are also very interesting (good quality oils have been “cleaned up”) but even better. Because they are better assimilated and more respectful of marine resources, krill oil is recommended.
Omega 3s are particularly important because we often lack them in our diet.
They participate in:
- Regulation of hormones in the body
- Increased cervical mucus (which helps sperm to progress to the egg, as long as it is not too acidic!)
- Normalization of menstrual cycles
- Reduction of the prolactin hormone that can prevent ovulation
- Increased uterine circulation
Omega 3 also contains 2 fatty acids that are essential for good health: DHA and EPA.
- Low levels of DHA have been correlated with depression and other mental disorders.
- During pregnancy, DHA deficiency may be associated with premature delivery, low birth weight and hyperactivity in children.
You may read review from Harvard Medical School on Omega-3 fatty acids and fertility.
Generally, in modern diets, the proportion of omega 6 is too high compared to omega 3. While the ratio between the two is very important for optimal functioning of the body.
This over-consumption of omega 6 is mainly due to the food fed to livestock. However, if you eat little meat and consume few packaged products, you must ensure that you have a balanced intake of omega 6 compared to omega 3.
For this, you can use a good organic sunflower and/or grape seed oil in cooking, for example, raw (in synergy with other oils rich in omega 3, see above) or hot (but never smoking it, like any other oil!).
Borage oil as a supplement is also an excellent source of good omega 6.
For your information, omega 6s are good sources and not consumed in excess:
- Support fertility by improving the structure of reproductive cells
- Reduce the risk of inflammation
- Improves the health of the body’s organs
These monounsaturated fatty acids can be found in various food sources, with olive oil accounting for the largest share. It is probably because of its richness in omega 9 that olive oil has so many health benefits.
Fresh (unripened) nuts and seeds, avocados and sunflower oil also contain good levels.
It is essential to ensure that you get good daily intakes in each of these EFAs, with particular attention to omega 3, whose diet is often deficient.
There are supplements that combine omega 3-6-9 in good proportions. But given the frequent over-consumption of omega 6, it is not recommended.
On the other hand, eat a variety of foods with good virgin and cold extracted oils, fatty fish 1-2 times a week (especially small fish less polluting such as sardines, anchovies, mackerel, herring…), mixed flax seeds, and little meat but of excellent quality.
Whether before, during or after pregnancy, for the mother-to-be and before pregnancy for the father-to-be, it is essential to consider EFA intake, especially omega 3!
And don’t forget either, no omega 3 in the last month of pregnancy!
Importance of Essential Fatty Acids for Male Fertility
For men, the consumption of EFAs can also make a big difference…!
- They improve circulation in the genital organs, which supports the work of the prostate (and therefore the production of seminal fluid) and other elements necessary for good reproduction.
- They also reduce blood pressure, an important factor in erectile dysfunction.
- Omega 3 is also essential for sperm production, with EFAs and cholesterol also being essential ingredients in the sperm membrane.
- DHA, one of the fatty acids found in fish and krill oils, has a significant impact on the viability and health of sperm cells.
- Insufficient consumption results in cholesterol replacing them in the cell membranes of sperm cells. This substitution prevents their proper development and generates more free radicals which in turn damage all the healthy sperm around them.
- By increasing your intake of EFA (especially omega 3), by pampering your dietary intake but also by consuming fish oils, krill or vegetable oils rich in omega 3, the sperm produced is healthier, more resistant and with better motility. This undeniably increases the chances of conceiving a baby, and a baby in better health too!
This article has been written by Nilam Mehta and she is the owner of this site.
Nilam has worked in Pharmaceutical industry and have studied – Lifestyle Medicine from Doane University; Science of Exercise from University of Colorado Boulder. She believes that many of health problems can be cured naturally.
I am the owner of this website/blog has authored many articles on this blog. You can reach me on [email protected]