These organelles have many other important functions, including the production of steroid hormones like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, pregnenolone, and cortisol. Given the role of many of these hormones in reproductive health, this is important information for those who are looking to optimize their fertility.
Considering the increased demand for energy and nutrients during pregnancy, healthy mitochondria are also important during this time to support the development of your baby, as well as the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy.
It may come as no surprise that mitochondria depend on nutrients to function. While macronutrients like carbohydrates, fat, and protein are important, we need micronutrients for our mitochondria to run properly and be able to turn food into energy. Key nutrients involved in mitochondrial functioning include B vitamins, carnitine, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and magnesium to name a few. Given the crucial role micronutrients play in mitochondrial functioning, it makes sense that nutrient deficiencies can result in mitochondrial dysfunction. Therefore, a nutrient-dense eating pattern and strategic nutritional supplementation is a key piece of the puzzle when aiming to keep mitochondria healthy during preconception and beyond.
Other factors such as psychological stress, toxins, and medications, have also been shown to negatively impact mitochondria. In keeping our mitochondria healthy, it’s important we pay attention to these lifestyle factors as well, and find ways to harness the stress response and minimize toxin exposures throughout our journeys.
Here are my top 3 tips to fuel healthy mitochondria for fertility and beyond:
1. Eat real, whole foods.
Sounds simple right? Whole foods are nutrient-dense, meaning they contain plenty of micronutrients and antioxidants to support proper mitochondrial functioning. The power of food is amazing, and foundational for keeping our mitochondria healthy. Consider incorporating the following foods to support your mitochondria: berries, dark leafy greens, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, and quality protein like wild alaskan salmon and grass-fed beef or bison. It’s also a good idea to include a robust prenatal like WeNatal to fill in nutrient gaps and prevent deficiencies.
2. Discover ways to harness the stress response.
This is easier said than done, but finding ways to harness the stress response is so important for our physical, mental, and fertility journeys. There’s no one “right” way to do it. Find something that resonates with YOU such as going for walks in nature or using the WeNatal journal.
3. Consider safer swaps.
While we can’t completely avoid environmental toxins, we can find ways to reduce our exposures which starts with looking for safer swaps! For example, swapping plastic storage containers for glass ones, using safer skincare and beauty products, opting for non-toxic cleaning products, and drinking filtered water. While this process may feel overwhelming, I encourage you to view it as a process, not something that needs to happen overnight! To help you along the way, consider referring to this WeNatal blog that outlines our favorite resources for clean living.
Keeping mitochondria healthy is an important consideration on your journey to motherhood. If you’re looking to explore mitochondrial health further and receive personalized strategies to support you on your journey, I’d love to connect and discuss how I can support you. You can learn more about my Nutritionally Right Baby Program here, and book a no-cost, no-obligation, no-pressure phone call for us to learn if we’re a good fit to work together!