The Science Behind Vaccine Safety

***Our goal is to compile a comprehensive list of the valid scientific research behind vaccine safety and side effects. We will publish comments that include links to relevant studies from their direct sources (not media articles or opinion). Let’s empower mothers and patients to make educated decisions. Before you vaccinate, read the science.***

Study: For 1 in 168 children, vaccines cause side effects so severe that they require an ER visit.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3236196/

Study: Boys vaccinated against Hep B at birth are 3x more likely to develop autism.

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21058170

Analysis: SIDs and Infant Mortality Rates Regressed Against Number Of Vaccine Doses Routinely Given “A high statistically significant correlation between increasing number of vaccine doses and increasing infant mortality rates…”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3170075/

Case Study: Rare simultaneous Sudden Infant Death (SID) of identical twins 2 days after vaccination.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17654772

Study: Rotovirus linked to fatal intestinal disorder in 1 in every 4670 infants. “There was also an increase in the risk of intussusception after the second dose of the vaccine… The strong association between vaccination with RRV-TV and intussusception among otherwise healthy infants supports the existence of a causal relation.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1773072/

Study: “Epidemiological evidence supporting an association between… Thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines and the subsequent risk of an ASD diagnosis.”

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3878266/

Study: “The higher the proportion of children receiving recommended vaccinations, the higher was the prevalence of AUT or SLI. A 1% increase in vaccination was associated with an additional 680 children having AUT or SLI. Neither parental behavior nor access to care affected the results, since vaccination proportions were not significantly related (statistically) to any other disability or to the number of pediatricians in a U.S. state. The results suggest that although mercury has been removed from many vaccines, other culprits may link vaccines to autism.”

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21623535

Analysis: “The risk of autism among African American children vaccinated before the age of 2 years was 340% that of those vaccinated later.”

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25377033

Analysis: “Methodological issues and evidence of malfeasance in research purporting to show thimerosal in vaccines is safe.”

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24995277

Study: Link between antibodies from MMR vaccine and central nervous system autoimmune dysfunction in children with autism

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12145534

Study: Link between aluminum in vaccines and prevalence of autism

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22099159

Study: “The related and damaging effect of exposure to high levels of mercury… a viable alternative explanation for the occurrence of regressive autism. The evidence indicates there is alteration to chromosome structure and/or function.”

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3364648/

Case Series: Vaccine additives cause autism-like symptoms.

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17454560

Analysis: “A comprehensive review of mercury-provoked autism. In conclusion, the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence favours acceptance that Hg exposure is capable of causing some ASDs.”

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19106436

Analysis: Explanation of why some children are at greater risk of developing autism after vaccines. “The evidence suggests that the abnormal sulfation chemistry, limited thiol availability, and decreased GSH reserve capacity could explain why the adverse effects of TM are greater in a subpopulation of children with this susceptibility…”

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3774468/

Evidence: “Certain individuals with a mild mitochondrial defect may be highly susceptible to mitochondrial specific toxins” found in vaccines, resulting in autism spectrum disorders.

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3697751/

Review: Autism linked to encephalitis (brain swelling) following vaccination.

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21299355

Hypotheses: Conjugate vaccines may predispose children to autism spectrum disorders.

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21993250

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11339848

Study: Link between autism and prenatal exposure to heavy metals via Rhogam shot in RH-negative mothers. “Children with ASDs (28.30%) were significantly more likely (odds ratio 2.35, 95% confidence interval 1.17-4.52, p < 0.01) to have Rh-negative mothers than controls (14.36%).”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17674242

Study: Autistic children have difficulty excreting heavy metals like mercury, as evidenced by significantly lower levels of mercury in their hair. This points to a genetic susceptibility to autism in children who cannot effectively detox vaccine toxins.

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12933322

Analysis: “A possible central mechanism in autism spectrum disorders… the link between excessive vaccination, use of aluminum and ethylmercury as vaccine adjuvants, food allergies, gut dysbiosis, and abnormal formation of the developing brain.”

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19043938

Study: “The role of mercury [found in vaccines] in the pathogenesis of autism.”

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12142947

Study: Vaccine additives induce autistic behavior in mice.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24675092 

Study: Vaccine-induced autoimmunity may cause autism.

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12849883

Study: DNA changes and the overuse of vaccines linked to autism

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3364648/

Study: Mercury toxic encephalopathy manifesting with clinical symptoms of regressive autistic disorders. ‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17454560

Study: Relation of mercury to high autism rates in boys

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16264412

 

Study: Elevated levels of measles in children with Autism

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12849883

Survey Study: Tylenol following MMR Linked to Autism

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18445737

Study: Fetal and Retroviral Contaminants in Vaccines Linked to Autism and Cancer. “…Linear regression revealed that Varicella and Hepatitis A immunization coverage was significantly correlated to autistic disorder cases… Autistic disorder change points years are coincident with introduction of vaccines manufactured using human fetal cell lines, containing fetal and retroviral contaminants, into childhood vaccine regimens. This pattern was repeated in the US, UK, Western Australia and Denmark. Thus, rising autistic disorder prevalence is directly related to vaccines manufactured utilizing human fetal cells…”

Abstract: http://www.academicjournals.org/journal/JPHE/article-abstract/C98151247042

Full Study: Journal of Public Health and Epidemiology_Deisher_et_al/

Evidence: Scientists have known for decades about the dangers of insertional mutagenesis caused by using human fetal cell lines in vaccines. Instead of conducting safety studies, the FDA has ignored the dangers and merely regulates the amount of human DNA that can be present in a vaccine to no greater than 10ng–an amount that has not been proven safe. www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/05/slides/5-4188S1_4draft.ppt

Hypothesis: conjugate vaccines may predispose children to autism spectrum disorders

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21993250

Regressional Analysis: Rise in autism coincides perfectly with rise in vaccines. “The relationship between the proportion of children who received the recommended vaccines by age 2 years and the prevalence of autism (AUT) or speech or language impairment (SLI) in each U.S. state from 2001 and 2007 was determined. A positive and statistically significant relationship was found: The higher the proportion of children receiving recommended vaccinations, the higher was the prevalence of AUT or SLI.”

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21623535

Study: Relationship between Thimerosal-containing vaccine administration and the risk for an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in the United States

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3878266/

 

Study: Adverse events after vaccines containing adjuvants linked to autism and autoimmune conditions. “A traditional infectious disease vaccine is a preparation of live attenuated, inactivated or killed pathogen that stimulates immunity. Vaccine immunologic adjuvants are compounds incorporated into vaccines to enhance immunogenicity. Adjuvants have recently been implicated in the new syndrome named ASIA autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants…. The most frequent clinical findings were pyrexia 68%, arthralgias 47%, cutaneous disorders 33%, muscle weakness 16% and myalgias 14%. Three patients had diagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome, one patient had Adult-Still’s disease 3 days after vaccination. A total of 76% of the events occurred in the first 3 days post-vaccination. Two patients with previous autoimmune disease showed severe adverse reactions with the reactivation of their illness… Vaccines containing adjuvants may be associated with an increased risk of autoimmune/inflammatory adverse events following immunization.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23576057 

Study: Higher Heavy Metals in Hair Samples from Severely Autistic Children

‪http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/9/12/4486

Study: Subtle DNA changes and the overuse of vaccines in autism. “There is a compelling argument that the occurrence of regressive autism is attributable to genetic and chromosomal abnormalities, arising from the overuse of vaccines, which subsequently affects the stability and function of the autonomic nervous system and physiological systems… This article explores the issues and concludes that sensory dysfunction and systemic failure, manifested as autism, is the inevitable consequence arising from subtle DNA alteration and consequently from the overuse of vaccines.”

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3364648/

Study: Elevated levels of measles in children with Autism

‪http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12849883

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What Med School Never Taught Your Doctor About Vaccines

 

“Maybe the problem isn’t mothers who don’t believe in science; maybe the problem is that medical schools have stopped teaching the science to doctors.”

Back when my first baby was born, I believed all vaccines worked. I believed all vaccines were safe. When I took my firstborn to the doctor for a routine set of infant vaccines, I had a simple question for my pediatrician. I’d recently read a study revealing that babies who receive the rotavirus vaccine were more likely to suffer an intestinal disorder called intestinal intussusception in which their intestines collapse into each other. The condition is painful and deadly. I expected that our pediatrician would easily put my new-mom fears to rest. Since rotavirus is not considered deadly in first world countries with access to clean water, but intussusception is considered deadly or at least permanently disabling, I assumed he could explain why the rotavirus vaccine was so important, despite its risks. But when I mentioned the study to our pediatrician, he did not even know the study existed. When he saw my surprise, he cursorily skimmed the article I was holding and then announced that it was “hogwash.” I wanted to believe him, but he seemed uncomfortable, like a child who doesn’t want to answer his mother’s questions. If he had been well versed in the science of vaccines, I probably would have trusted him, but now I was suddenly aware that I had read more studies about vaccine safety than our pediatrician. I decided to hold off on the rotavirus vaccine and I took my eight-week-old infant home. Back at home, I dug deeper into the research—and found much, much more disturbing information on vaccines.

At least a dozen of my closest friends are doctors who have graduated from top American medical schools. I’ve spoken with many of them about their medical education. I have learned that mainstream medical schools teach their students very little about preventive health, but spend entire semesters teaching techniques to ensure “patient compliance.” Courses on patient compliance, sometimes called patient “adherence” or “capacitance,” teach doctors how to convince patients to listen to them, even when patients voice serious concerns about the doctors’ recommendations. This seems like a generally dangerous practice and a poor use of time during medical school, when there is so much to learn in such a short time. Why all this focus on patient compliance?

What many medical students don’t realize is that their education is funded by drug companies who benefit from overprescription. Most people have heard of pharmaceutical reps whose job it is to convince doctors to push specific drugs on unsuspecting patients, but did you know that those same drug companies wine and dine medical students, pay medical school professors millions of dollars each year, and begin lecturing medical students even before they are doctors?

Over the years, Harvard Medical School has received hundreds of millions of dollars from drug companies. TIME reports, “1,600 [Harvard professors] admit that either they or a family member have had some kind of business link to drug companies — sometimes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — that could bias their teaching or research.”

Several of my pediatrician friends have told me that they are sick of mothers who don’t believe in vaccine “science,” but these same pediatricians have admitted to me that they haven’t actually read a scientific study on vaccines in years. My friends—so many of whom are intelligent, well-intentioned doctors who genuinely hope to help their patients—simply trust that their medical schools have taught them all they need to know about health.

So what do doctors learn about vaccines in medical school? Not much. A reader sent us the above screen shot of a woman taking to Instagram to complain that her roommate, a doctor, is storing live typhoid vaccine in their communal refrigerator. Most people know that live viruses are the stuff of chemical warfare, but this doctor was apparently not concerned. Why didn’t she learn how to safely store vaccines in medical school? Even the U.S. government admits, “It is the nature of living things to change, or mutate, and the organisms used in live, attenuated vaccines are no different… An attenuated microbe in the vaccine could revert to a virulent form and cause disease….”

But Pharma-funded medical schools know that if they were to teach their students about the dangers of live vaccines—including the fact that live vaccines are excreted in the mucus and feces of injected children and can even be spread to other children for days and weeks following vaccination, a phenomenon known as “shedding”—that they would be opening up a broader conversation about vaccine safety. It’s a conversation that Big Pharma and medical schools don’t wish to have.

So, instead, medical schools ignore the conversation about vaccine safety altogether. They encourage doctors to focus on “compliance,” not science.

Maybe the problem isn’t mothers who don’t believe in science; maybe the problem is that medical schools have stopped teaching the science to doctors.

WE_LiveTyphoidVaccine_MedStudent_RoomateFridge.jpg

Above: A medical student’s roommate complains that “Literally the only thing on [Med Student’s] side of the fridge is a live typhoid vaccine.” The medical student was never taught that vaccines should not be stored in home refrigerators.

Sources:

Time Magazine: Is Drug-Company Money Tainting Medical Education?

http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1883449,00.html

U.S. Government: Types of Vaccines

http://www.vaccines.gov/more_info/types/

Can You Trust Your Doctor?

I believe in the goodness of people, so I believe your doctor probably has good intentions. Just like the generations of doctors before him or her. Just like the doctors a few decades ago, who told their patients that smoking cigarettes was perfectly safe, even good for your health. Those cigarette-prescribing doctors pointed their patients to the body of published “science” that supported the safety of smoking at the time.

Had you asked your OBGYN back in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, or 70s how to reduce your chance of miscarriage, your doctor would have told you to take diethylstilbestrol (DES) during your pregnancy, a drug that caused cancer in ten million daughters born to mothers who listened to their doctors. Doctors told their patients that DES was safe and the “science” said DES was safe; DES was recalled after 37 years on the market. 

Had you asked your doctor how to lose weight between 1973 and 1997, your doctor would have helpfully written you a prescription for Fen-Phen, a drug that caused massive heart attacks in patients for almost three decades. Fen-Phen remained on the market for 24 years before it was recalled. 

Had you asked your doctor how to lower your cholesterol in 2000, he would have prescribed Baycol, a drug whose side effects killed tens of thousands of people in just a few short years. Baycol was recalled only after 100,000 people were killed. 

Had you asked your doctor how to heal arthritis pain in the early 2000s, he would have prescribed Vioxx, a Merck drug. Vioxx was recalled after damaging the hearts and cardiovascular systems of more than 140,000 people. 

Had you complained of inflammation to your doctor in 2005, he would have prescribed Bextra, a Pfizer drug that caused heart attacks, strokes, and fatal skin conditions. After Bextra was recalled, Pfizer’s subsidiary admitted to “intent to defraud or mislead” with their promotion of the drug. 

Had you sought treatment for Type 2 diabetes in 2000, your doctor would have prescribed Rezulin, a drug that was found to increase hepatitis cases. When one doctor did voice concerns about Rezulin’s safety, the FDA fired him. The drug was only pulled after overwhelming evidence showed that it was dangerous–at a time that was already too late for many people who had been hurt by it.

Did you know that doctors used to prescribe tobacco cigarettes to prevent illness? Physicians played an integral role in the promotion of smoking. Those cigarette-promoting doctors were probably decent people who simply believed in the “science” of the time. Those doctors, with the best of intentions, believed they were helping their patients.

In the year 2016, if you take a healthy newborn to an American doctor, your doctor will recommend injecting your baby with 49 doses of vaccines containing a cocktail of known toxins, including aluminum, formaldehyde, MSG, aborted fetal cells, cow cells, chick embryo cells, monkey kidney cells, and some of today’s most common childhood allergens. Your doctor  might even mention the “science” that supports the safety of such a schedule, but the truth is that no prior generation has ever received this number of vaccines at such a young age. Zero long-term studies have examined the safety of the schedule. In the same way that we allowed cigarette manufacturers to fund and interpret the “science” of cigarette safety, our current system allows vaccine manufacturers to fund, oversee, and interpret the “science” of vaccine safety.

If you listen to your doctor and allow him to vaccinate your baby with a vaccine full of ingredients you haven’t researched, and then you call your doctor a few hours later because you’re concerned about your baby’s reaction, your doctor may tell you that nonstop crying, fevers, and even seizures requiring hospitalization are a normal response to those vaccines. This generation of American children is the first to experience a new “normal” when it comes to health: more autoimmune conditions than ever before, 1 in 42 boys diagnosed with autism, never-ending rashes, rampant obesity, incessant illnesses, and severe, lifelong allergies that many will never outgrow.

One day, with the 20/20 hindsight of history, we will look back on the vaccine debate in the United States and we will understand it more clearly. 

Until then, you can trust your doctor. But when you choose whether to trust your doctor without doing your own research, remember that your doctor, like millions of doctors throughout history, is only human.

ingredients_MMR_vaccine_CDC.png

ingredients_DTaP_vaccine_CDC.png

 

Sources here.

Source of vaccine ingredients: CDC.

 

Zika Virus Update: Argentine and Brazilian Doctors Name Larvicide as Potential Cause of Microcephaly

As Brazilian and U.S. officials continue to push for a lucrative Zika virus vaccine, new theories are emerging to explain the crisis in Brazil. According to organicconsumer.org, “a chemical larvicide that produces malformations in mosquitoes was introduced into the [Brazilian] drinking water supply in 2014. This poison, Pyriproxyfen, is used in a State-controlled programme aimed at eradicating disease-carrying mosquitoes….”

Read more: Argentine and Brazilian Doctors Name Larvicide as Potential Cause of Microcephaly.

 

The Fertility Diet: 15 Tips To Help You Achieve Pregnancy Naturally

thefertilitydiet

When my husband and I began discussing the possibility of having children, we initially decided to wait a year to take advantage of our child-free lives. Then one night, after a few glasses of wine, we threw caution to the wind. At the time, I didn’t know anything about fertility. I didn’t realize that it would have been biologically impossible for me to get pregnant that night because I had already ovulated earlier in the month.

When I found out that I wasn’t pregnant a few days later, I panicked. I wondered: What if I have endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome or blocked fallopian tubes? I began to research infertility—and I was stunned by what I found.

Last year, American women spent upwards of $4,000,000,000 on fertility treatments. A typical round of IVF carries a price tag of $15,000, and with a success rate of 20 to 30 percent per round, many hopeful parents undergo multiple rounds before conceiving a child. As a result, America’s (in)fertility industry is booming.

By some accounts, fertility treatments are a modern medical miracle. Couples who may not have been able to conceive without medical intervention are now meeting their biological offspring. This may sound like a happy ending—and often is, for those who can afford it—but there is more to the story. Because the industry benefits financially from infertility, there is little to no motivation to promote free, natural methods to improve fertility. Given the industry’s fierce drive for profit, some experts speculate that too many women are offered invasive fertility treatments before they receive any counseling about how to alter their diets, lifestyles, and behaviors in order to conceive naturally.

As I began to learn more about fertility, I wanted to know the answer to a simple question: How can I improve my chances of conceiving a baby quickly and naturally? I never wanted to experience the fear of infertility again. Like many couples, when we decided we were ready to get pregnant, we wanted to get pregnant as soon as possible.

My husband and I agreed to spend a few months focused on health before trying to conceive again. We cut back on caffeine, stopped drinking alcohol, and cooked more healthy meals together. A few months later, when we tried again—this time, officially—we got pregnant immediately. Was it chance that we conceived the first month we actively tried? Or did our dietary and lifestyle changes make the difference?

American women are facing unprecedented rates of infertility. The number of couples unable to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse has risen from 1 in 10 couples to 1 in 6 couples. Can our rising infertility rates be fully explained by the delayed age of first marriages and first pregnancies? The answer is unclear, but at least one puzzle piece is within your control: your diet.

As scientists have long agreed, fertility is an important marker of health in the animal kingdom. When an environment is inhospitable to new life—due to famine, environmental pollutants, or other concerns—a series of biological chain reactions take place and animals are unable to procreate. Fertility, then, is not only important when a couple is trying to conceive; it’s an important indication of personal health.

What dietary changes can you make to improve your chances of conceiving a baby quickly and naturally?

Note: The tips below apply to both men and women. Women: You were born with all of the eggs you will ever have, so your lifelong habits are especially critical to the health of your future children. Most sources estimate that diet and lifestyle changes take about 3 to 6 months to impact ovulation, menstrual regularity, and fertility, so plan to make these changes half a year or more before you begin trying to conceive. Men: The most recent studies suggest that the lifecycle of your sperm is just 74-90 days, so be sure to implement fertility-friendly dietary changes at least 3 months before you and your partner hope to conceive.

The Fertility Diet:

15 Tips To Help You Conceive Quickly And Naturally

1. Eliminate soy (including soy products, like tofu) and corn (including corn products) from your diet. Thanks to powerful biotechnology corporations like Monsanto, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are extremely prevalent in the U.S., but they have never been proven safe—that’s why the European Union has banned many of them. Current studies clearly link GMOs to reproductive health issues and infertility. Worse, some animal studies suggest that the side effects of GMOs are cumulative across generations, meaning that the daughters and granddaughters of today’s GMO-consuming mothers will experience the harshest effects. Since 94% of soy is genetically modified and 88% of corn is genetically modified, you can eliminate a majority of genetically GMOs from your diet simply by cutting out soy and corn. If you do choose to eat soy and corn, make sure they are always organic. Remember, the current generation of reproductive-age women is the first generation ever to try to conceive while consuming GMO food; our own mothers did not grow up eating GMOs. Do you really want to be Big Agra’s guinea pig?

2. Limit your caffeine and alcohol consumption. Did you know that men who consume two or more alcoholic drinks per day produce fewer sperm? In fact, the sperm that these men do produce are often deformed. Fertility doctors refer to these two-headed or two-tailed sperm as “sloppy swimmers” because they are unlikely to be strong enough to make the journey to the egg. Sadly, if they do reach the egg, the pregnancy is more likely to end in miscarriage. Like alcohol, caffeine seems to impair sperm in a similar way. Fortunately, most healthy men produce many, many sperm in the biological hopes that the healthiest sperm will reach the egg. However, for women, who generally release only one egg each month, limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine while trying to conceive is even more important. A study of Danish couples found that women who drank five or fewer drinks per week had a harder time getting pregnant than women who didn’t drink at all. Other studies have found that consuming alcohol can change a woman’s ovulation pattern, delaying or even halting ovulation altogether. The bottom line: A healthy egg and healthy sperm are requirements for conception, so if you want to get pregnant quickly, it’s a no-brainer: cut back on caffeine and alcohol.

3. Avoid processed foods and “natural flavors.” Always, always read ingredients. If you can’t identify every ingredient on a label, do not put that Frankenfood into your mouth. Just what are “natural flavors”? 60 Minutes recently answered that question with a fascinating video, which you can watch on their website. So-called “natural” flavors are actually a concoction of chemicals that “give an impression” and “mimic the taste and smell” of real food. Since the flavor industry has come of age only recently, you can be sure that our mothers did not consume these chemicals. There are already enough dangerous, fertility-disrupting chemicals in our environment—in non-stick pans, cleaning products, plastics, flame retardants, personal care products, and pesticides—so keep them out of your stomach!

4. Consume dairy from organic, whole milk sources—never non-fat. This is a big one, especially for women! In fact, this is probably one of the easiest-to-fix diet-related causes of anovulation (not ovulating, and therefore skipping periods). A famous Harvard study found that women who ate two or more servings of low-fat or non-fat dairy per day, like skim milk or yogurt, had an 85 percent increased risk of infertility when compared with women who ate the same amount of dairy from whole-fat sources. Here’s the science behind it: “To prepare low- and non-fat dairy, whole milk is spun at high speeds to separate the fat from the water. Hormones separate differently according to their preference for fat. Estrogen and progesterone prefer fat, so when milk is being separated, those hormones go into that fat layer. Androgens, insulin-like growth factor one (IGF-1), prolactin, and male hormones prefer the watery layer — hence a glass of skim or low-fat milk gives you more male hormones and fewer female hormones.” How creepy is that?! So next time you’re making oatmeal, skip the water or skim milk, and use whole milk instead. Eating fruit? Mix in some unsweetened organic whole fat yogurt and drizzle with maple syrup or honey. The good news: Women who eat one full-fat serving of dairy every day are 50 percent less likely to experience anovulation than women who consume full-fat dairy only once a week.

5. Eat organic, pastured eggs including the yolks. Experts agree: Eggs are a reproductive health superfood. In traditional Chinese medicine, eggs have a long history as a fertility booster, energizer, and blood strengthener. Did you know that too little cholesterol can actually cause fertility issues? Perhaps this is where those Chinese traditions stem from. But not all eggs are created equal: Pastured eggs, which come from hens that are raised on pasture unlike factory hens fed GMO grains, contain up to 20 times more healthy omega-3 fatty acids than eggs from factory hens. Scrambled, fried, hard-boiled, chopped on top of a spinach salad—the possibilities are endless!

6. Eat high-quality, 100% grass-fed red meat. Did you know that vegans have just one fifth the chance of giving birth to twinsAlthough the causation is not yet fully understood, studies suggest that women who consume animal products have higher rates of either ovulation or embryo survival. Of course, grass-fed red meat is very different from farm-raised, hormone-filled, corn-fed red meat, so seek out the healthiest red meat you can afford. A McDonald’s hamburger and a 100% grass-fed beef patty are not the same. Also be sure to consume animal products like organic, cage-free eggs and whole milk dairy products. Protein is one of the building blocks of human life. Are you getting enough?

7. Up your antioxidants. You can eat all the organic meat and dairy in the world, but if you’re not getting enough produce in your diet, your diet won’t be balanced. Antioxidants—found at particularly high levels in fresh berries—protect a woman’s eggs from damage and aging. Similarly, studies have shown that men who consume more Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and beta-carotene—all of which are found in colorful fruits and veggies—produce sperm with less age-related DNA damage. So don’t forget your fruits and veggies!

8. Eat the right fish. Weekly consumption of fish is linked to a host of health benefits. Unfortunately, as our world and oceans become more polluted, it’s important that women do not eat fish indiscriminately. Although I don’t generally recommend vitamins and supplements when food will do the trick, many people sing the praises of fish oil supplements and Nordic Naturals consistently receives high ratings for their fish oil supplements. Still, at Wellness and Equality, we prefer real foods to supplements, so choose fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury whenever possible. Aim for one or more servings of wild-caught, low mercury fish per week. Omega-3 fatty acids are especially important for the brains of developing fetuses, and as they say, it’s best to nourish the soil before planting the seed. Click here to view an infographic that can help you make sense of all the choices.

9. Eat oysters. Have you heard the old wives’ tale about oysters as aphrodisiac? It just might be true, but there’s more to the story! Zinc, which is a fertility-friendly mineral, is mainly 
found in oysters. In fact, zinc deficiencies are sometimes the culprit in ovulation issues, irregular periods, and uterine fibroids. Though oysters offer the most concentrated source of zinc, zinc is also found in peas, lima beans, maple syrup, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and whole-milk dairy products.

10. Eat Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, and peanuts. Eating just 2 to 3 Brazil nuts per day can significantly increase levels of selenium in your body, which has been nicknamed “the fertility mineral.” That said, too much selenium can cause a variety of side effects, so there’s no need to eat more than a few Brazil nuts per day. As for almonds, cashews, and peanuts, feel free to enjoy them by the handful! Just be sure you purchase nuts that have been properly prepared, or soak them yourself.

11. Eat sweet potatoes. This one is just for a bit of fun! The Yoruba tribe in Nigeria, West Africa has the highest rate of twinning in the world, with 45 pairs of twins per every 1,000 births, and scientists have speculated that their yam-heavy diet is responsible. Wild yams contain phytoestrogen, an estrogen compound that may increase follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and induce higher rates of ovulation. Now, you would probably have to consume wild yams at an impossible rate to make a true difference, but there’s certainly no harm in consuming this healthy, Vitamin A-rich root vegetable.

*** Many OBGYNs recommend that women take a high-quality multivitamin or prenatal vitamin for several months before trying to conceive, especially women who have ever taken oral contraceptives, which have been shown to deplete vitamin stores. The final four tips below are particularly important for women who have taken oral contraceptives, but may be helpful to any woman. ***

12. Consume foods rich in folate. The well-established fact that oral contraceptive pills deplete the body’s stores of folic acid, fat-soluble vitamins, and other nutrients is one of many reasons why most OBGYNs recommend waiting a few months to get pregnant after stopping the pill—that is, to replenish those depleted stores. Folate is an extremely important fertility nutrient because a lack of folate can cause serious birth defects. Like any nutrient, folate is best consumed as a food, rather than as a supplement, whenever possible. It can be found in dark leafy greens, nuts, liver, and chicken. If you are taking prenatals in advance of a pregnancy, seek out a vitamin that contains folate, not folic acid.

13. Consume foods rich in fat-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins like D, K, E, and A, which can also be depleted by years of oral contraceptive use, help to support the production of estrogen and other hormones important to fertility. Fat-soluble vitamins D and K2 are found in egg yolks, butter, liver, and wild salmon. Vitamin E, which may normalize hormone production, is found in butter from grass-fed cows, olives and unrefined olive oil, palm oils, avocado, and almonds. The essential Vitamin A is best consumed from animal sources like organ meats, butter, cream, cod liver oil and eggs, but can also be absorbed from plant sources like carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, spinach and collard greens.

14. Consume foods rich in B vitamins. Oral contraceptives have a confusing impact on Vitamin B levels. Vitamin B6, which balances estrogen and progesterone and aids in reproductive health, can be found in meat and starchy fruits and vegetables, including potatoes and bananas. Vitamin B12, which is also impacted by oral contraceptives, is another important hormone balancer and can be found in grass-fed red meat, poultry, wild-caught fish, shellfish, eggs, and whole-milk dairy products.

15. Consume foods rich in iron. Last but not least, iron is another key for women’s reproductive health. Humans absorb iron best when it comes from animal sources like eggs, salmon, tuna, beef, dark chicken meat, and pork.

For a healthier pregnancy, nourish the soil before planting the seed. Improve your health before you begin trying to conceive. Your commitment to health before and during pregnancy is one of the most important gifts you can give to your unborn child. The benefits of a healthy pregnancy continue not only throughout your unborn child’s life, but also into the lives of future generations.

In our culture, we spend a lot of time talking about how to avoid pregnancy. Let’s change the conversation and teach women about how to keep their bodies healthy. Clearly, the success of America’s fertility industry confirms that women are craving information about their bodies, conception, fertility, and health. If you know a woman—a daughter, a friend, a sister—who may try to conceive in the future, please share this article with her.

Wishing you and your loved ones prosperity!