Positive Effects on Fertility, Conception and Pregnancy
Female infertility has become an increasing problem among women of childbearing years. Recent statistics show that more women are becoming pregnant past the age of 30, greatly reducing family size. Women over the age of 30 also run the risk of failed attempts at successful pregnancy, mainly due to miscarriages caused by cellular damage caused by free radicals. Giving birth at an older age increases the potential for birth defects and developmental delays in an infant.
There are many causes of female infertility, including oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by the production of more free radicals than the body's natural antioxidant system can manage. Oxidative stress can negatively impact the normal function of a woman's ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. According to recent scientific studies, oxidative stress is associated with infertility, ovarian cysts and endometriosis, a condition in which the tissue that lines the uterus grows in other reproductive organs, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus.
The use of glutathione, our body's only naturally produced antioxidant has been shown to be an important factor in promoting fertility among both women and men. Glutathione can reduce oxidative stress by fighting the formation of damaging free radicals in the reproductive system. Researchers indicate that oxidative stress can cause significant disturbances in the conception process. Oxidative stress can negatively affect the quality and motility of sperm and can also decrease ovarian function, limiting the amount of viable eggs produced during a monthly cycle. When a healthy egg is fertilized by a healthy sperm cells rapidly begin to divide and eventually creates an embryo, which develops into a healthy fetus and baby.
The ovaries contain small follicles, each of which contains one immature egg in the center. During a woman's menstrual cycle, 10 to 20 of the thousands of follicles in the ovaries begin to mature an egg. Usually only one egg fully matures. If healthy sperm does not fertilize the mature egg, conception cannot occur. If an immature egg is fertilized, it may become lodged in a fallopian tube, causing a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy. Researchers have found that low concentrations of glutathione in the follicles can prevent fertilization.
Oxidative stress is generally described as an imbalance between reactive oxygen species within cells. This occurs when reactive oxygen and other free radicals exceed the use of natural antioxidants in the body, such as glutathione. This essentially means that a woman's reproductive system is impacted by a lack of essential vitamins and nutrients necessary for conception. The most important antioxidants include vitamins C and E, which work by slowing or stopping the development of reactive oxygen in cells. These vitamins are available in fresh fruits and vegetables, but the vitamin effects are degraded by the digestive system. Researchers have found that oxidative stress can also cause male infertility by decreasing the sperm cell count, as well as the motility or movement of sperm. If sperm cannot reach a mature egg, the egg dies, thus beginning a woman's menstrual cycle. Recent studies have focused on the role of oxidative stress and pregnancy complications. Oxidative stress can cause spontaneous abortions, also known as miscarriages, as well as a host of female reproductive disorders. It is also associated with the development of premature rupture of fetal membranes, causing stillborn infants and those born with severe birth defects and developmental disabilities.
Disturbances in normal cellular growth and development can cause toxic effects throughout the body, including harmful viruses, bacteria and environmental toxins. When this happens, it is usually the result of low levels of the antioxidant glutathione. Glutathione, as the body's natural detoxifier, helps remove harmful chemicals and also prevents certain diseases from infiltrating healthy cells.
Free radicals are described as a group of atoms with an unpaired number of electrons. They are developed within cells when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. As they develop, free radicals form a chain reaction, causing cellular damage. Cells eventually die from an influx of free radicals, often leading to serious infections and diseases. Reproductive cells are unable to divide and function properly, thus preventing the fertilization of female eggs. Free radicals can cause cellular damage, as well as irreparable damage to RNA and DNA synthesis, both of which can cause fertility disorders and death to a developing fetus. Antioxidants, including glutathione are vitally important in preventing cellular damage, which can lead to multiple diseases, including certain types of cancer, neurological disorders and infertility in both men and women.
The body has a natural detoxification system, mainly composed of glutathione and essential amino acids. The antioxidant effects of glutathione stop the cascading effects of free radicals, helping maintain cellular health. An important aspect in fertility, antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, preventing permanent cellular damage, especially in the female reproductive system. Glutathione works as a natural defense system, eliminating free radicals before they can cause cellular damage. Eggs and sperm can by destroyed by the development and spread of free radicals. Damaged DNA, which is important to the development of a healthy fetus and baby, can cause miscarriages and severe birth defects.
Studies indicate a definitive link between oxidative stress caused by free radicals and infertility. High levels of glutathione have been shown to help the female reproductive system operate properly, producing eggs and increasing the chance of conception and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Although many prenatal vitamins are usually prescribed to woman in the early stages of pregnancy, many doctors are not aware of glutathione and its positive effects in promoting fertility.
Many couples trying to conceive a child resort to expensive medical testing and some pay thousands of dollars to fertility clinics offering in vitro fertilization and egg donor programs. As medical costs increase, many couples are left without answers. Some opt for adoption as a last resort, which can be as expensive as medical treatment. It is unfortunate that many gynecologists and fertility specialists are unaware of the positive effects of glutathione in helping promote fertility. If you are struggling to become pregnant, it is important to discuss the benefits of antioxidants before undergoing expensive diagnostic testing and fertilization procedures. Your naturopathic pharmacist may be able to recommend the best antioxidants, amino acids and essential nutrients that may increase your chances of successful conception and most importantly, a healthy baby.