Sunday, August 24, 2008

Show & Tell--August 24, 2008

It's been forever since I've joined the class. Let's just say that the Big Project has kept me out of school. But even though I should be doing something else right now, I decided to swing by school this week, to show a couple of things. The first is this:

As I mentioned a few months ago, I picked this book up when my cycles started getting longer and fertility drugs started looking more likely. I thought I might as well check it out to see if it had any useful information for me. It's an older book on fertility and nutrition, by natural family planning advocate Marilyn Shannon. She has something like 8 kids, and had her youngest when she was 48, so I thought she might be something of an expert. I wasn't expecting much (sorry to be biased--but she lives on a farm, teaches for the Couple to Couple league, and homeschools all her kids), given her background. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I am an opionated bee-yatch, and the book is well-sourced, with lots of footnotes citing various medical studies. Granted, the book is a little old, and so are the studies, but there is some science there.

There is an interesting section in the book about luteal phase defects. I know there's a lot of debate in the medical community about whether there really is such a thing as luteal phase defect, or whether a short luteal phase reflects a problem elsewhere in the cycle. Regardless of which camp you fall into, the book notes that a Vitamin B6 deficiency can interfere with fertility, and suggests that 200-600 mg/day can rectify this situation, citing a study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology. The book also has a giant section on PMS, and recommends a particular diet and supplement program developed by a doctor named Guy Abraham to overcome PMS, called Optivite PMT. The author suggested that these vitamins might also help overcome progesterone/luteal phase issues, even for those who don't suffer from PMS. The author notes that

In a truly remarkable study, vitamin B6, a critical nutrient for PMS sufferers, was given in 100-800 mg/day doses to 14 women who had normal menstrual cycles but also had PMS and infertility of 18 months to 7 years' duration. Ten of the 14 had never borne a child; the other four were experiencing secondary infertility. Twelve of the women conceived, 11 within six months of the B6 therapy! In this study, prolactin levels were not found to change, but progesterone levels were significantly increased in several women, indicating that the vitamin B6 had improved their luteal function.

It's a small study, for sure, but the results are rather impressive, given that all of the women suffered from infertility. I'm not crazy about fertility drugs, as I've mentioned, so after reading this, I was willing to give the B6 a shot. I decided to just go ahead and buy the Optivite vitamins, since they were formulated to address hormonal imbalance. Here is the label:

I was a little sketched out by some of the amounts, so I started out taking one tablet a month, and then moved to two, rather than the 6 they recommend. I also added a folic acid supplement, since they are low in that. I've been taking them for a couple of months now. This is my second month taking two every day, and the only month in the last year where I've ovulated anywhere near the middle of the cycle. Who knows whether the vitamins are helping, but it's certainly an interesting coincidence.

So, what are you showing today?


Cassandra said...

I'd never heard of B6 for LPD before! (And I thought I'd heard of every possible remedy) Worth considering, even though I'll be starting IVF #2 soon including yucky prog-in-oil shots -- but it seems like improving my natural progesterone can't be a bad thing. Thanks!

Ann said...

Thanks for the nice words about Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition. I work for Couple to Couple League and wanted to mention that Marilyn has just finished the manuscript on a new edition with ALL new research. Look for publication by the end of the year.

Ann Gundlach

JamieD said...

That is interesting!! I will have to check out the book as well as the Opivite vitamins. I had backed off my B6 supplements and now my LP is screwy again. Coincidence?

Kristin said...

Very cool info. I always like hearing about more natural remedies.

Martha said...

I love my B vitamins, they certainly help with energy, so this makes alot of sense. Thank for sharing.

Io said...

That's really interesting!
I don't think my cycles have issues, but lord do I ever get some PMS. Maybe I will have to check it out.