Follicle stimulating hormone - What is it and how does it affect my fertility and my hormones?
Hey girl hey, did you know your follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), a hormone produced by the pituitary gland in your brain can cause infertility in men and women and it is so important to make adequate FSH to get and stay pregnant.
Being to high can also indicate early menopause.
Why is it so important? Because it regulates the functions of both the ovaries and the testes and without it you couldn’t conceive or carry a baby to term.
So many of my clients come to me saying their doctors have told them As part of their basic fertility blood work they would like to order a test to check their FSH levels. Sometimes called the day 3 FSH test, this is a simple blood test meant to measure the amount of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in your bloodstream.
FSH testing has traditionally been used to evaluate ovarian reserves though that’s not the only purpose of testing. Ovarian reserves refer to the number and quality of eggs left in the ovaries. If a woman’s FSH levels are high, she may have diminished ovarian reserves, which can make it more difficult for her to get pregnant, and fertility treatments especially IVF may not be as effective as stimulating ovulation or follicle development.
However, research has found that calculating FSH levels is not the best way to check ovarian reserves. One big problem with FSH testing is that getting a normal value doesn’t ensure that your ovarian reserves are good. You can have normal FSH levels and still face age-related infertility. You may also still end up responding poorly to fertility treatment.
What do you do if your FSH is low?
First talk to your doctor to determine if your FSH is actually low and the cause.
Many causes are
Advanced maternal age
Once you know why your FSH is low then you can make simple lifestyle changes to increase it. Here are a few of my simple tips from my Hormone Puzzle Method which is a methodology all about giving your body proper nutrition and choosing lifestyle factors that support your fertility, hormones and your FSH levels.
1. Proper nutrition and eating foods high in Omega 3 fatty
Omega-3 fatty acids are important in the production of hormones in the body, which may in turn improve FSH levels. There is some evidence that increasing omega-3 intake through diet or supplements may decrease elevated FSH levels in some cases
Good food sources of omega-3 include oily fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, herring, and anchovies), walnuts, flax seeds, seaweed, and kidney beans, among others. Omega-3 supplements are also available.
2. Consume more dark green leafy vegetables. Dark green leafy vegetables provide the body with a range of vitamins and minerals that support a healthy endocrine system, which, in turn, may help improve your FSH levels. Dark green leafy vegetables include kale, spinach, broccoli, and cabbage, as well as sea vegetables like nori, kelp, and wakame.
An easy way to cook sea vegetables is by roasting them on a pan at 400 for 10 minutes. They will taste super salty however the minute you eat them you will feel a sense of calm and it will be worth the taste.
Your doctor may advise you to eat at least five portions of these foods per day. This can be done by blending kale into a morning smoothie, eating a green salad for lunch, and including at least two portions of green or sea veggies with dinner.
3. Introduce more ginseng to your diet. Ginseng may help to support and nourish the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, both of which contribute to your FSH levels. You can take ginseng as a supplement—your doctor may advise you to try taking two 500mg capsules twice per day, for instance.
4. Take a recommended dose of maca each day. Maca is a root vegetable that grows in high altitude areas that have intense sunlight. Maca helps to nourish the endocrine system, which may in turn help to improve your FSH levels. Maca can be found in supplement form, and the recommended dosage is often 2000-3000mg per day. Try my maca smoothie which is a delicious way to get maca into your diet.
5. Take vitex capsules daily, if recommended. Vitex is an herb that may help regulate the pituitary gland, in turn helping to balance the production of hormones in the body. There’s some evidence that vitex may help lower FSH levels in some cases. This is best taken on an empty tummy so take it before breakfast.
6. Maintain a healthy weight to improve your likelihood for normal FSH levels. Maintaining a healthy weight contributes to the appropriate production of FSH and other hormones. Being overweight can, in some cases, contribute to elevated FSH levels that may negatively impact fertility.
· Alternatively, being severely underweight may in some cases decrease FSH levels to such a degree that fertility is negatively impacted.
· Generally speaking, a healthy weight is defined as having a BMI between 18.5 and 25. However, you should always consult with your doctor to determine your ideal weight goals and how best to get there.
If you need to lose weight, work with your health coach to focus on healthy measures like exercising more and eating nutritious foods. My Hormone Puzzle program is the perfect place to start if you are trying to lose weight without having to diet. Hormone puzzle method
As you can see there are many things you can do to support your body in making the hormone FSH. As I always say, take it one step at a time. I know all of this can be very overwhelming however if you focus on the end goal of having a healthy baby and healthy pregnancy then it will be that much easier. Start to incorporate 1 small change a day until you have a whole new set of habits and way of life.
Love and Health,