So you want to get pregnant and are looking for ways to increase fertility with food?
What's the secret?
A cleanse? More fat? Special teas and berries?
The #1 way to increase fertility through diet is not what you're eating, it's what you're NOT eating
As a rule, I'd rather encourage people to eat the good stuff (here's a great list fertility super foods), and trust that the bad stuff will gradually fall away. But when it comes to this topic, you should just say no.
So, what's the big NO-NO?
Studies link GMO foods with infertility
There have been various studies that link GMOs and infertility, which are contested feverishly by GMO supporters.
A three generation study of hamsters in Russia demonstrated nearly complete infertility after three generations fed GM soy. Any babies that were born suffered from slow growth and high mortality rates.
Alexey Surov, the biologist in charge of these studies says, “We have no right to use GMOs until we understand the possible adverse effects, not only to ourselves but to future generations as well.”
In another 2005 study, rats fed GM soy died at a rate FIVE times higher than the rats fed GMO free soy. The babies in the GM group were also smaller and could not reproduce. The male rats' testicles turned from a normal pink color to a purplish-blue when fed GMOs, and the sperm of these rats was of poor quality.
An Austrian government study published in November 2008 showed that the more GM corn was fed to mice, the fewer the babies they had and the smaller the babies were.
Farmers in the US, and India have reported sterility and death of livestock after introducing GM feed. (source).
This is only a partial list of studies and reports. While no large-scale human clinical trials have been funded, doctors and other experts are recommending a GMO-free diet for various health conditions, including infertility. Dramatic health recoveries have been reported. (source)
Wait, what's a GMO?
For centuries, gardeners, farmers, and scientists have been cross-breeding plants and animals (within the same species) to create the most desired traits.
Genetically modified organisms were first introduced into our food supply in 1994, and are created by the introduction of foreign genetic proteins from other species to change the way the plant or animal's genes express.
In theory, such an amazing biotechnology could be used to make plants more nutritious or able to grow in harsh climates, thus solving the issues of world hunger. In reality this is not happening.
Monsanto and other mega-corporations are using GMOs to create pesticide-tolerant, patented seed crops that do not last for more than one season. This creates a dominance over small farmers who previously bought seeds only once and now must buy seeds every time they plant – as well as the pesticides and herbicides that these new varieties of crops require.
Beside the economical and ethical issues involved with GMO crops, it is very likely that the genetic alteration of food will have an impact on those animals and people that are consuming the food.
How's this for freaky…
Once eaten, GMOs may stay inside your body forever!
The only published human feeding study revealed what may be the most dangerous problem from GM foods. The gene inserted into GM soy transfers into the DNA of bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function. This means that long after we stop eating GMOs, we may still have potentially harmful GM proteins produced continuously inside of us.
Put more plainly, eating a corn chip produced from [genetically modified] corn might transform our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories, possibly for the rest of our lives.
When evidence of gene transfer is reported at medical conferences around the US, doctors often respond by citing the huge increase of gastrointestinal problems among their patients over the last decade. GM foods might be colonizing the gut flora of North Americans. (source)
GMO foods are laden with chemicals
Among scientists, it is still a hot debate whether or not GMOs are specifically the cause of infertility and other health issues.
Beyond the possibility of GM itself being a problem, it cannot be denied that GM foods are also engineered to withstand high exposure to pesticides and herbicides (such as “Roundup Ready Corn“). Even if messing with genes does not cause infertility, it is certain that these poisons are wreaking havoc on our health whether consumed directly, in/on fruits and vegetables, or via the meat of animals who have eaten GMO feed.
Glyphosate, one of the active ingredients in Roundup and other herbicides, is a known endocrine disruptor, meaning it interferes with hormone balance in the body, able to introduce health issues with even a small amount of exposure. Aside from infertility, endocrine disruptors can affect mood and metabolism and have been linked to some cancers as well. (source)
It is advised not only to avoid pesticide laden foods, but also to filter your water, which may also be contaminated with glyphosate.
GMO foods offer inferior nutrition
Finally, if “franken foods” and poison sprays aren't enough, we need to talk about the whole point of food in the first place – nutrition.
It's important to note that nutritional quality is not a priority when it comes to GM produce – economic dominance, extended shelf life, herbicide resistance, and the ability to grow in crowded rows and in nutrient deficient soil are the current goals of genetic modifications.
When it comes to making babies, what we eat is of utmost importance. Whether you are just starting to think about having a baby or are having problems trying to conceive – it is essential that you eat the most nutritious food possible.
It's a no brainer: eliminate GMOs from your diet if you want to make a healthy baby.
Here's how to avoid GMOs
Eat Organic – The easiest way to avoid GMOs is to only eat 100% certified organic foods, since the USDA requires that organic food not be genetically modified.
Avoid the big GMO crops – If you cannot afford 100% organic, be sure to avoid non-organic foods made with these ingredients: corn, soy, canola, sugar (usually made from GM sugar beets).
Don't eat packaged foods – Even packaged foods labeled “organic” may not contain all organic, non-GMO ingredients. Just because you bought it in a pretty package at your favorite health food store does not mean you aren't buying toxic, GM ingredients.
Read your labels – In an ideal world you won't be eating processed foods, but if you do, be sure to read your labels to look out for the major GMO products above.
Know your farmer – Seriously people, the best way to know what's in your food is to know exactly where it came from. While this may seem like an inconvenience to your life, I guarantee that infertility or cancer are bigger inconveniences. So get out to your local farmer's market, get a weekly farm box, and go visit your farmer! Ask questions, have a look, and find out how your food is grown!
Still not convinced?
Russia and 6 European countries (including France and Germany) have all banned the import of GMO crops with “justifiable reasons to consider that the GMO in question poses a risk to human health or the environment.” (source)
Most countries (apart from the U.S. and Canada) require labeling of genetically modified foods (source).
Just this month, Kaiser Permanente – the largest managed healthcare organization in the United States – has recommended that customers “limit exposure to GMOs” stating, “Despite what the biotech industry might say, there is little research on the long-term effects of GMOs on human health.”
While I'm not usually apt to take advice from a health insurance company, for once the corporate bottom line does line up with consumers' best interests.
Skip GMOs, stay healthy, save everyone money – and increase fertility while you're at it!
Do you avoid GMOs? Share in the comments!