How to Improve Egg Quality after 40
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If you’ve come to this article looking for ways to improve egg quality after 40, then you are likely already aware that a woman’s chances of getting pregnant decreases with age meaning getting pregnant after 40. While there is nothing we can do to prevent the regular loss of eggs as you age there are several fertility supplements you can take along with dietary and lifestyle changes that you can make to improve your egg quality after 40, and ultimately improve your chances of pregnancy.
- In her 40s, a woman’s odds of achieving pregnancy are significantly reduced and the odds of experiencing a pregnancy loss should a pregnancy occur are significantly higher.
- Egg quality is the main contributing factor in reduced pregnancy and increased pregnancy loss rates. Women are commonly able to achieve successful pregnancies well into their 40s when using donor eggs from a young fertile female.
- Egg quality can be characterized by several factors, but the best gauge of egg quality is generally the proportion of a woman’s eggs that are genetically normal. The amount of genetically normal eggs a woman produces decreases as she ages. By 40, less than half of a woman’s eggs are considered normal.
- Egg quality is largely determined by the ovarian environment that the eggs spend their final 90 days of development in; women in their 40s generally have a poor ovarian environment for producing high-quality eggs.
- There are many things you can do including taking CoQ10, eating a high-fat diet, and more that may significantly improve your ovarian environment and thus optimize your egg quality in your 40s.
What is Egg Quality and What Does Age Have to Do With it
There are a few ways to judge egg quality, but most reproductive endocrinologists agree that the genetic makeup is most important – in other words, is the egg chromosomally normal or abnormal.
As a woman ages, the percentage of chromosomally abnormal eggs they produce skyrockets.
Female babies are born with all of the eggs they will ever have. However, these eggs are not fully developed and remain undeveloped in a waiting pool for decades. Once puberty is reached, dozens of eggs are pulled from this waiting pool every day and continue their meiosis journey of development with the hope of developing fully and being ovulated. However, developing an egg from its very immature stage to one that is ready to be ovulated and fertilized is a very intricate and energy-expensive process that requires optimal ovarian health. As women age and their ovaries become less able to meet the demands of a growing egg. Because of this, the eggs in a 40+ year-old woman are more likely to accumulate errors in their genetic makeup.
How Long Does it take to Improve Egg Quality?
Eggs take approximately 90 days to develop from the time they are pulled from the waiting pool to ovulation. As such, fertility specialists recommend taking supplements, starting acupuncture, and making diet/ lifestyle changes 3-4 months before trying to conceive. Don’t stress out if you feel like you’re in a time crunch! Making these changes even one month before conceiving, especially with fertility treatments, has been shown to positively impact egg quality.
Foods/Diet to Improve Egg Quality after 40
Everyone knows that our diet and proper nutrition have a direct effect on our health. It should come as no surprise that our diet also has a direct impact on our fertility.
When you are trying to get pregnant, there are foods you can eat to improve your fertility and to increase your egg quality, like liver, fish, and full-fat dairy products. All of these foods contain high levels of vitamin A. Sufficient Vitamin A levels play a significant factor in ensuring oocyte quality, ovarian response, and embryonic development . Research indicates that eating foods containing high levels of omega-3s like fish, oysters, and flax seeds may be effective to preserve fertility and improve egg quality .
The Fertility Diet
At CNY Fertility, we recommend eating a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates. A high-fat, low-carb diet helps to improve overall fertility and egg quality in two main ways, (1) reducing inflammation and (2) balancing reproductive hormones. Balanced reproductive hormones are essential to female fertility. When hormones are unbalanced, a common symptom of PCOS, the ovaries don’t function properly, and eggs mature at a lesser rate and quality.
Inflammation can cause tissue damage and reduce blow flow to the ovaries. This impairs nutrient delivery and impairs egg development. Proper nutrition and blood flow are essential to ensure that eggs develop normally and result in high-quality oocytes. To reduce inflammation, we recommend limiting your carbohydrate intake. When carbohydrates get broken down by the body, they turn into glucose, fructose, and other sugars that are known to cause inflammation.
We recommend increasing your fat intake because fat is key to the development of every cell in the body . Fat gives the body energy and supports cell growth. Fat also helps to absorb nutrients and produce hormones. Like everything else in our body, eggs are made up of cells. Fat gives eggs the energy and nutrition they require to develop properly.
For full information on the benefits of eating a high-fat and low carbohydrate diet, check out D. Kiltz’s Keto Cure Magazine!
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
When you are pregnant, most doctors recommend limiting caffeine consumption and restricting or completely eliminating alcohol. It makes sense that you should avoid things that you would while pregnant while you are trying to get pregnant. Excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption has been shown to impair female fertility function in several ways .
Lifestyle Changes to Improve Egg Quality after 40
When you are trying to improve your egg quality and chances of getting pregnant, it is important to focus on improving your overall health. There are many simple changes you can make to your daily routines that will help you do so. Most items in this section are intuitive and obvious, but that doesn’t make them any less important or impactful.
Obviously, quality sleep is a huge part of a healthy lifestyle, but did you know it is directly related to egg quality and fertility? While we sleep, our bodies repairs cell, restore energy and release hormones needed for reproductive and other processes. Sleep allows our body to complete the necessary processes to support the development of high-quality and healthy eggs.
At night, the pineal gland in our brain produces the hormone melatonin to promote sleep. Melatonin is essential to maintain our body’s biological clock, and it also can improve egg quality. Research has shown that melatonin is beneficial for reproductive function and is believed to facilitate oocyte quality, ovulation, embryo development .
You can use many strategies to naturally increase your body’s melatonin production, like eating a healthy diet, managing stress, and cutting back on screen time. Melatonin levels decrease with age, so it is especially important for women over 40 to ensure they are making choices that promote good sleep .
Smoking causes a laundry list of health problems and research shows it impairs egg quality and quantity. Smoking increases egg loss in the ovaries and increases the number of abnormal eggs produced . Chemicals in cigarettes cause DNA mutations in egg cells. These mutated eggs are considered low quality, abnormal, and they are commonly unstable for conception.
Managing stress is much easier said than done, but low-stress levels are associated with better health. Stress is known to cause many imbalances and issues throughout the body related to fertility and egg quality. When we are stressed, our bodies produce increased levels of cortisol and prolactin, which can decrease ovulation, hindering egg production .
At CNY Fertility, we understand the importance of reducing stress for fertility and improving egg quality. Unfortunately, fertility treatment can be a significant cause of stress, especially for women over 40. As previously mentioned, fertility decreases with age, so older women commonly experience more difficulty getting pregnant. As such, we have developed several programs at CNY to help reduce stress and provide support throughout your fertility journey.
Light Exercise/ Yoga
One of the best ways to improve your health is to get moving! Light exercises like walking, stretching, and yoga are great ways to reduce stress, increase blood flow to your reproductive organs and balance the immune system. As previously mentioned, a woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever have. These eggs lie dormant in the ovaries until one month they mature, go through meiosis, and are ovulated. Ovaries require nutritious blood flow to maintain a suitable environment for eggs to rest and eventually develop into high-quality oocytes.
Supplements to Improve Egg Quality after 40
Fertility supplements can be used to improve the egg quality of women over 40. Taking supplements is a great way to support a healthy diet and ensure overall and fertility health. When choosing fertility supplements, look for products that contain the specific vitamins and nutrients listed below. These nutrients have been shown to improve mitochondrial function, increase antioxidant levels, and support a healthy ovarian environment to improve egg quality.
Fish Oil (Omega 3s)
As previously mentioned, omega 3s can help to preserve fertility and encourage the production of higher quality eggs, especially for women over 40 . Getting appropriate levels of omega 3s can be extremely difficult from diet alone, especially if you don’t eat a lot of seafood. Fish oil supplements are a great way to ensure adequate levels of omega 3s to preserve your fertility and improve egg quality.
Research has shown that omega 3 supplementation is a practical and effective way to delay ovarian aging and improve oocyte quality at advanced maternal age. Even short-term use of omega 3 supplements is associated with improved oocyte quality for women in their 40s .
Co-Enzyme Q10 (Coq10)
Co-enzyme q10 levels within the body decrease as we age. As such, it is important for women over the age of 40 to take Co q10 supplements when they’re trying to get pregnant. Co q10 is a vital nutrient because it is the primary antioxidant that protects and supports mitochondria. As co q10 levels decrease, so do the levels of energy mitochondria can produce.
For high-quality eggs to develop, mitochondria need to function properly. Mitochondria provide the energy needed for biochemical reactions like DNA replication. If mitochondria can’t provide sufficient levels of energy to support DNA replication, then fewer high-quality eggs are produced.
In addition, oocyte mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with reproductive aging. The increase in DNA replication issues that occur as women get older may be caused by the age-related decline of the function of oocyte mitochondria.
Research has shown that Co q10 supplementation can help to combat and reverse the age-related decline in oocyte quality by improving the mitochondrial function . In short, Co Q10 helps to provide energy to cells and to promote improved egg quality.
As previously mentioned, vitamin A plays a significant role in ensuring oocyte quality. Sufficient vitamin A levels are required for oocyte quality and also blastogenesis, an essential portion of embryo development . Supplementing vitamin A can help women in their 40s to ensure they have appropriate levels to support healthy egg development.
Other Vitamins and Nutrients for Egg Quality after 40
The Supplements we Recommend to Improve Egg Quality after 40
At CNY Fertility, we have formulated what other Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinologists and we believe to be the best fertility supplements available, Molecular Fertility. Our supplements are backed by peer-reviewed journals and clinical fertility care experience. They contain all of the nutrients listed above and many more to improve egg quality and overall fertility.
As women increase in age, their nutritional needs change. Our supplements contain science-backed and lab-tested, premium ingredients that are especially important for women over 40.
As you can see from this article, the best way to improve egg quality after 40 is by focusing on your overall health. Taking fertility supplements, eating a healthy diet, incorporating yoga into your daily routine, and managing your stress levels will improve all of the bodily processes that support fertility and quality egg development.
Don’t fret if you’re 40 and are just starting to think about having children! More and more women are waiting until later in life to grow their families. Fertility specialists are more knowledgeable than ever, and fertility treatments are available to increase your odds of conception.