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Fertility and paleo/crossfit

by (20)
Updated about 1 hour ago
Created September 19, 2011 at 4:52 PM

I have been doing crossfit for about 6 weeks and eating paleo about 2 months. I've noticed that my cycles are a lot longer lately (50-60 days), instead of about 30-35 days which is what they were before. I don't really know if I'm ovulating either. The last time I actually know for sure I ovulated was in June/July Do you think the diet and exercise could be causing this? We are trying to conceive. I am 5'7", and 110 pounds. I don't know my BMI, but I'm assuming it's low based on me weight and height. I'm definitely not trying to lose weight...if anything I've been eating more lately to maintain my current weight, or even gain. Should I stop crossfit or not be eating as strict paleo? Lots of people seem to benefit, fertility wise, while crossfitting and eating paleo, but maybe since I'm already pretty small as it is, it's making it worse for me? What do you think?

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16131 · October 04, 2011 at 10:51 PM

I don't post on MDA - maybe I should!

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32518 · October 04, 2011 at 10:18 PM

This is great, Meredith! Worthy of posting as a stand-alone, IMO! Do you post on MDA?

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16131 · September 19, 2011 at 7:00 PM

We must be in cahoots!

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20 · September 19, 2011 at 6:37 PM

Thanks. Yup- I've always been skinny. I was actually about 5-10 pounds lighter about 8 years ago when I was in highschool! My father is tall and thin, I take after him. I am doing crossfit 2-3 times per week, and that's all the working out I do, nothing excessive and I dont push myself really hard. Looks like I will e eating more fats and starchy carbs as eel as taking extra zinc supplements. Thanks for all the help everyone!

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20 · September 19, 2011 at 6:25 PM

My calorie intake is probably on the low side. I feel like I eat a lot, but I know for a fact that I am not near the 2700 calorie mark. I think last time I kept track I was a little under 2k, so I'll work on that.

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32518 · September 19, 2011 at 6:17 PM

hahaMeredith, posted at the same time!

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2290 · September 19, 2011 at 6:14 PM

More fatty meat. Spoons of coconut oil. High fat dairy

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16131 · September 19, 2011 at 6:10 PM

In addition - what Travis says about zinc is interesting because I have read that it helps promote Progest. production as well as lowers cortisol.

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20 · September 19, 2011 at 6:00 PM

I know! I can't seem to ever put on weight. I'm definitely skinny but I don't look unhealthy. I guess a high metabolism runs in my family, because I always eat a lot! I eat a lot of nuts and eggs and meat, but I guess I need to add more fats to my diet, maybe avocados?

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20 · September 19, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Interesting. I've always been a big meat eater and take prenatal vitamins so I'm not sure if zinc is the issue...but definitely something I'll look in to. Thanks for the info!

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10919 · September 19, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Good luck, momma. If It takes more than 6 months dont hesitate to see a fertility Clinic. I know I'll get voted down since hormone therapy isn't optimal but if the fertility diet doesn't work, and you have decent insurance, go for it. I had a hard time conceiving myself and hilariously I found out i was pregnant a week before we were going to start clomid. Funny enough it was when I was prepaleo and I was on a low carb Atkins diet. I think my body finally just got what it needed

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20 · September 19, 2011 at 5:26 PM

We have been trying almost a year now. I got pregnant the first month we tried (Sept. Last year), but had a miscarriage around 7 weeks...I'll check out the info you sent! Thanks!

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10919 · September 19, 2011 at 5:16 PM

You can go on a grain free version of this http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/diet-for-pregnant-and-nursing-mothers It's what they recommend to do for 6 months prior to conception anyway. Also, don't forget. It's not uncommon for first time pregnancies to take up to year.

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10919 · September 19, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Are you getting plenty of your fat soluable activators like AD and K? How much fat are you eating? Are you getting enough cholesterol from liver and eggs? Hormones require fat. :-)

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8 Answers

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56606 · September 19, 2011 at 5:58 PM

You need to closely monitor your caloric intake. I did this when I had irregular periods and I was shocked at how low it was (I used cronometer). If it's low you will need to start forcing yourself to eat more calories, either by eating more food or by adding more fat to your food or both (haiga rice or yams with ghee for example). You are going to have to adjust Cronometer for the amount of exercise you are doing and your goal weight (which should be higher). You'd be surprised at how many calories you need and how hard it can be to get them on paleo. Based on my Cronometer, it says for your height and weight with high activity and a goal of 120 lbs, you need 2700 calories a day. Your weight is way too low right now so I suspect this is an issue. I was have issues at 5'2" and 100 lbs and you are significantly taller. I'm now more around 110.

Most of the weight gain has been concentrated on my backside, which is exactly where fat in women is supposed to be to maximize fertility. Some people will tell you that you can't spot gain or reduce, but these fat masses are hormonally regulated and altered your hormones can alter their size. I would also recommend eating roe, grass-fed ghee/butter oil, and cod liver oil. I've had other women tell me that they've gotten good curves and better cycles this way.

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20 · September 19, 2011 at 6:25 PM

My calorie intake is probably on the low side. I feel like I eat a lot, but I know for a fact that I am not near the 2700 calorie mark. I think last time I kept track I was a little under 2k, so I'll work on that.

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39841 · September 19, 2011 at 5:40 PM

If your bodyfat is too low, your hypothalamus will receive too weak of a leptin signal from your fat cells and shut down GnRH secretion, which activates the rest of the hormonal cascade (FSH, LH) leading to estradiol production in the ovaries. 5'7" 110 is extremely lean for a female.

Additionally, intense exercise increases zinc depletion at a greater rate (which would have the same result as too little bodyfat), and if you have endured periods of low zinc intake due to dietary restriction in general, but especially as a result of a veg*n diet in the past, you could be pushing yourself into a significant deficiency. Simply eating meat would either take a very long time to correct this or possibly not work at all. Because of how crucial zinc is for the development of a the fetus, you probably wouldn't want to get pregnant if you were deficient anyway.

The correction of a deficiency-related amenorrhea via zinc supplementation can take a long time as well: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0447.1990.tb11077.x/abstract

In 13 subjects the menstruation returned 1???17 months after the initiation of zinc therapy.

You wouldn't be as deficient as them of course, so if this were the cause, it shouldn't take that long. It'd be better to overshoot though.

There are obviously a bunch of other issues that could interfere, but these are easy ones to address first.

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20 · September 19, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Interesting. I've always been a big meat eater and take prenatal vitamins so I'm not sure if zinc is the issue...but definitely something I'll look in to. Thanks for the info!

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32518 · September 19, 2011 at 6:16 PM

If I were trying to conceive, I would do Crossfit only 2x per week and walk (slowly) more. You want to keep your cortisol level down.

As was already said, more carbs/calories, & more zinc (the RDA is likely not sufficient for optimal health.)

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16131 · September 19, 2011 at 7:00 PM

We must be in cahoots!

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · September 19, 2011 at 6:17 PM

hahaMeredith, posted at the same time!

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16131 · September 19, 2011 at 6:09 PM

I echo what everyone else here says - but one thing that I have read and experience myself is the Progesterone Steal. Basically if you are stressed or doing some stressful exercise (like Crossfit or HIIT)then your aderanls can and will convert your Progesterone into Cortisol. This leads to irregular cycles, anovulation and all sorts of other crappy stuff.

I guess one way to instantly lower cortisol is to eat some fast acting carbs - which you should maybe consider doing post Crossfit.

link text

UPDATE:

I stopped all HIIT crossfit style workouts and instead do moderate lifting and moderate walking for longer periods of time. After ditching the intensity work my period retured after not having one for 7 years! I also dropped my carbs (I was experimenting with lots of fruits) and instead eat a high fat, moderate protein low carb diet. I cannot pinpoint which change made the difference. But that a shift in hormones DID happen. I would venture to say it was dropping the intense exercise.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195
16131 · October 04, 2011 at 10:51 PM

I don't post on MDA - maybe I should!

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · October 04, 2011 at 10:18 PM

This is great, Meredith! Worthy of posting as a stand-alone, IMO! Do you post on MDA?

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195
16131 · September 19, 2011 at 6:10 PM

In addition - what Travis says about zinc is interesting because I have read that it helps promote Progest. production as well as lowers cortisol.

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630 · September 19, 2011 at 5:50 PM

your very very thin!! and paleo makes you lose BF so that may be an issue. Eat fats and nuts! however i'm 5'4" 123 and cycles are irregular since getting on paleo (about a year). So i'm not sure of the correlation

http://reallifepaleo.blogspot.com/

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2290 · September 19, 2011 at 6:14 PM

More fatty meat. Spoons of coconut oil. High fat dairy

C5e1cdbc8c8455cd5d7ff0b30cd3da3f
20 · September 19, 2011 at 6:00 PM

I know! I can't seem to ever put on weight. I'm definitely skinny but I don't look unhealthy. I guess a high metabolism runs in my family, because I always eat a lot! I eat a lot of nuts and eggs and meat, but I guess I need to add more fats to my diet, maybe avocados?

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10919 · September 19, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Are you getting plenty of your fat soluable activators like AD and K? How much fat are you eating? Are you getting enough cholesterol from liver and eggs? Hormones require fat. :-)

I would highly recommend you check the Weston price foundation for some interesting fertility and nutrition info. "Deep Nutrition" by Dr. Catherine Shanahan

If you're already doing all that you might need more starchy carbs like potatoes on sweet potatoes to put on a little weight.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f
10919 · September 19, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Good luck, momma. If It takes more than 6 months dont hesitate to see a fertility Clinic. I know I'll get voted down since hormone therapy isn't optimal but if the fertility diet doesn't work, and you have decent insurance, go for it. I had a hard time conceiving myself and hilariously I found out i was pregnant a week before we were going to start clomid. Funny enough it was when I was prepaleo and I was on a low carb Atkins diet. I think my body finally just got what it needed

C5e1cdbc8c8455cd5d7ff0b30cd3da3f
20 · September 19, 2011 at 5:26 PM

We have been trying almost a year now. I got pregnant the first month we tried (Sept. Last year), but had a miscarriage around 7 weeks...I'll check out the info you sent! Thanks!

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f
10919 · September 19, 2011 at 5:16 PM

You can go on a grain free version of this http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/diet-for-pregnant-and-nursing-mothers It's what they recommend to do for 6 months prior to conception anyway. Also, don't forget. It's not uncommon for first time pregnancies to take up to year.

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2290 · September 19, 2011 at 6:19 PM

You most likely won't be able to conceive at that height/weight. And if you do, you probably won't be able to safely carry a child. Have you always been that thin? I would suggest consuming more starchy vegetables, more fatty meat & coconut oil, and high fat dairy. Nut butter too, & supplement with lots of fish oil. You may also want to cut down on the training if you are doing it many days/week. When your cycles go back to normal, I would advise gaining some healthy weight before getting pregnant so as to avoid complications or miscarriage.

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20 · September 19, 2011 at 6:37 PM

Thanks. Yup- I've always been skinny. I was actually about 5-10 pounds lighter about 8 years ago when I was in highschool! My father is tall and thin, I take after him. I am doing crossfit 2-3 times per week, and that's all the working out I do, nothing excessive and I dont push myself really hard. Looks like I will e eating more fats and starchy carbs as eel as taking extra zinc supplements. Thanks for all the help everyone!

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20 · September 19, 2011 at 5:40 PM

OMG! I'm on the same boat. I still have not got my period for a year after I stopped the pills. I have been trying to get pregnant for almost a year and the Dr told me to cut down on working out. which I did and he also told me to eat Burger king.(don't think so) He wants me to gain weight. Which I did and still nothing.:(

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