Diet maybe the key to lifespan and fertility

March 3, 2015 22:14 by PrideAngelAdmin
It may be possible to live longer and increase fertility by manipulating diet, according to world-first research in mice from the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre.

Researchers showed for the first time in mammals that there is an ideal balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) for reproduction and another, different ideal balance for increasing lifespan.

The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), calls into question the long-standing theory that animals are forced to trade-off between reproduction and longevity when resources are limited. According to the researchers, it is possible to manage diet at different life stages to both optimise fertility and extend lifespan, rather than sacrificing either.

"This study takes a very big step in explaining why trade-offs between reproduction and longevity are not inevitable in mammals," said Dr Samantha Solon-Biet from the Charles Perkins Centre, who co-led the research with Dr Kirsty Walters from the Charles Perkins Centre and ANZAC Research Institute.

"Rather than a trade-off, we now know that each evolutionary function has different nutrient requirements. That means that as our nutrient requirements change with our life stage, we can change our diet to suit our current requirements, for example by increasing our protein to carbohydrate ratio when in our reproductive prime and lifting our carbohydrate to protein ratio in later life.

"Animals don't have to choose between high fertility and a long life. By managing diet throughout our life cycle, we can have both."

The findings open the door for the development of dietary treatments for infertility in humans.

"As the findings based on insects are now shown to be true in mammals, we are hopeful that they will be equally true in humans," said Dr Solon-Biet.

"As women increasingly delay child-bearing, the demand for assisted reproductive technologies increases. With further studies, it's possible that instead of women with subfertility resorting immediately to invasive IVF techniques, an alternative strategy may be developed to change the ratio of dietary macronutrients to improve female fertility. This would avoid the need for medical intervention, except in the most severe cases."

The study is the most comprehensive nutritional trial ever conducted in mammals exploring the relationship between macronutrients, reproduction and lifespan.

Researchers placed 858 mice on one of 25 ad-libitum diets with varying levels of protein, carbohydrate, fat and energy content. At 15 months, they measured the male and female mice for reproductive function. In both male and female mice, they found that lifespan was enhanced on a high carbohydrate, low protein diet, and reproduction was enhanced on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet.

Article: 3rd March 2015

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Benefits of Reflexology treatments for Fertility

February 27, 2015 21:15 by PrideAngelAdmin
Reflexology has been used for centuries to benefit health and wellbeing and there is ancient evidence that it has been used to aid fertility and conception and it still is to this day.

There is a stage in life when we start to reflect about having a family and what it means to us to become a mother, a father and parent. To enter into that stage which society and culture has us believing is a natural rite of passage is not necessarily a straight forward path, made especially difficult when the reality dawns that falling pregnant is not that easy.

Reflexology for Fertility

For whatever reason unique to the individual couple the anxiety, worry and stress of an unmet desire can bring strain to relationships and even isolation from friends while the process of getting pregnant takes center stage. Reflexology has been used for fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood for as as long as humans have understood the therapeutic benefit of loving touch (Holt et al 2009). Reflexology assists in re-balancing the mind/body connection – enabling the recipient to regain homeostasis (Tiran 2010).

How Does Reflexology Work?

Using reflexology for fertilityReflexology is a massage technique that is applied by a reflexologist to specific acupressure points on the feet. The points on the feet correspond to a specific organ of the body. Applying pressure to these points on the feet stimulates movement or a release of energy/prana/chi to the corresponding organ. With time, a connection to your center and a deep therapeutic relaxation ensues. A treatment always provides solace and the space necessary for healing, allowing us to reconnect to our bodies within.

McCullough et al (2014) conducted a systematic review on the benefits of reflexology. Looking from a purely medical standpoint, which plotted quantifiable data, the findings displayed as inconclusive. However, from my experience as a reflexologist, I argue that the research needs to come from another angle; one which measures the oxytocin release during the reflexology session and the effect this has on the body. Extensive research has been conducted into the “fight and flight” system in the body, where high levels of the hormones cortisol and adrenalin are released during times of high stress. In contrast, research into the sense of “calm and connectedness” we feel as a result of the release of oxytocin and endorphins during a reflexology, massage or acupuncture session is limited.

Reflexology for Reproductive Health Problems

Polycystic ovaries, cervical problems, adhesions (more commonly known as scar tissue), pelvic inflammatory disease, premenstrual syndrome, hormonal imbalances, blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, endometriosis and menstrual problems have all shown improvement from reflexology (Holt et al 2009, McCullough et al 2014 and Tiran D 2010). Within a few sessions, improved health and wellbeing surface. In order to address fertility health, a reflexology therapist will work through the reflexology points specific to the clients area(s) of health concern, such as the:

•lymphatic system
•immune system
•circulatory system
•neurological system (stress, anxiety, depression)
•endocrine system (hormone balance)
•liver (toxin release, hormone balance)
•kidneys (libido, fertility issues)

Reflexology works best when the client also ensures healthy lifestyle habits are in place. These include but are not limited to diet, exercise, relaxation, work/life balance.

Article: by Kristy Hawthorn 27th February 2015

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Ways to boost your chance of conceiving

February 22, 2015 23:06 by PrideAngelAdmin
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes ... sometimes an empty baby carriage.

Life can be incredibly frustrating and equally heartbreaking for a couple who is struggling to conceive. Among weeding through feelings of anxiety and insecurity, couples often experience a loss each month a pregnancy test doesn’t show a positive sign.

But there is hope, and most couples have a high chance of conceiving.

“Nine times out of 10, it’s very easily treated with either diet and lifestyle adjustments or minor fertility medications to help promote ovulation,” said Dr. Shawn E. Gurtcheff, a physician specializing in Reproductive Endocrinology Fertility at Utah Fertility Center.

In the first couple months of trying, Dr. Gurtcheff and other doctors suggest couples consider the factors that affect fertility and try to boost their chances of conception on their own.

Weight and diet

What both men and women eat and how much they weigh can affect their fertility, experts say. “People who consume high doses of caffeine have lowered fertility,” Dr. Gurtcheff said. “Additionally, alcohol, in more than moderate doses, can negatively affect fertility.” Weight can also affect a woman’s menstrual cycle and a man’s sperm.

“Several studies have suggested that women who are overweight or underweight [struggle with] fertility,” Dr. Gurtcheff said. “Trying to maintain a healthy weight is very important.”

Extreme athletes, such as long distance runners, sometimes struggle with infertility because of their low body weight. When a woman stops having a monthly period because of excess exercise, it’s often referred to as exercise-induced amenorrhea.

In these cases, Dr. Saunders said, it’s smart for women to rethink their fitness routines for a few months. “Sometimes gaining just 10 pounds can help someone’s fertility,” he said.


In large studies, over-the-counter, water-based lubricants like KY Jelly and Astroglide have not been associated with lower fertility among couples who are fertile, according to Dr. Gurtcheff. But those lubricants have not been heavily tested in infertile couples, and in the lab, they have shown to be detrimental.

“We typically recommend for couples who are trying to get pregnant to avoid those types of lubricants,” she said. “There is a commercially available product called Pre-Seed that’s a water-based lubricant and has been tested in infertile couples and has not been shown to be detrimental.”


Studies have suggested that a couple’s highest fertility comes with daily intercourse, Dr. Gurtcheff said.

“Intercourse at least every other day is pretty much just as good,” she said. “If every day is stressful, I usually tell people every other day is fine.”

But no matter how much intercourse a couple has, they won’t be successful if they don’t have sex around the time a woman is ovulating.

If a woman has a regular, predictable cycle, she’ll usually ovulate between day 10 and 20 of her cycle, Dr. Gurtcheff said.

“It can be as simple as having regular intercourse during that week and a half,” she said.

But having intercourse before ovulation is usually even more beneficial than waiting until ovulation, Dr. Saunders said. That’s because sperm can live in a woman’s body for about five days while an egg only lives for 12 to 24 hours.

“A lot of people think they need to wait until they ovulate to have intercourse but that’s actually the wrong thing to do,” Dr. Saunders said. “I actually tell people to start having intercourse right after they have their period on day eight or nine. You can have intercourse on day nine, ovulate on day 14 and the sperm that’s been there since day nine can actually fertilize the egg. Those little sperm can live for a long time.”

There are multiple ways to track a woman’s ovulatory phase, including monitoring cervical mucus, basal temperature tracking and over-the-counter ovulation kits.


Position generally doesn’t affect conception, Dr. Saunders said, but he acknowledges that it could if couples only have intercourse in gravity-defying positions, such as sitting or standing.

“For the most part I’d say it doesn’t matter,” he said.

The American Fork obstetrician does however recommend that after intercourse a woman lay on her back with a pillow under her buttocks to help keep the semen close to her cervix.

It’s not necessary but it could help, he said.

Stress levels and mind set

Relaxation, which is easier said than done, may help a couple boost their chances of conception. “There is some evidence that shows stress really does play a role in conceiving,” Dr. Saunders said.

There are methods that can help the vast majority of people conceive, both Dr. Saunders and Dr. Gurtcheff said. “It’s not a matter of are you going to be able to have a baby -- it’s what are we going to have to do to get you there,” Dr. Gurtcheff said.

Article: 22nd February

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Co-parenting journey - Planning for the unplannable

February 18, 2015 21:53 by PrideAngelAdmin
Pinning down our co-parenting arrangement is proving tricky for me conceptually. Not least because we wrote our statements of intent before we’d even conceived. Five months into the pregnancy, after a few pre-Christmas sick days in which to dip into some co-parenting case law, it’s time to review what we thought we thought back then… it’s all about expectations, don’t you know!

All of us have been model co-parents so far - agreeable, co-operative and easy-going – and maybe that’s part of the determination we mummies feel to meet aspirations on all sides. But what happens when the baby comes?

We had decided against a formal legal document - the cost of a bespoke solution seemed out of our means and we questioned the usefulness of a (cheaper) template. It may have been legally binding, but perhaps just not meaningful to us without a lot of work – and maybe more money - to tailor it.

Feeling that our co-parenting circumstances were highly personal and very unique to us, we opted to agree a parenting statement between us instead. P and G wrote theirs, we agreed their points and made our written response which they then agreed (as mentioned in previous blog). Luckily it revealed shared parenting values and a plenty of consideration that the arrangement would need to ‘evolve’ – really the best we could all have expected, on paper at least.

So the next question is ‘how is the first nine months going to work?’ Our baby will need its mummies, the dads will want to see and be with him/her as soon as possible after birth, and we’ll all inevitably fall head over heels in love with our little baby. Just maybe, we’ll no longer feel so relaxed about the evolution of our arrangement. Hmmn, so many questions. And so many possible complications on the winding road ahead. But as each scan brings us closer to our baby – a clue as to just how much we’re going to love it when it finally arrives – I realise that is just the first big test for us all. The first of many many more to come.

Getting to the next stage is going to require more talking, thinking and planning (over a dinner of course). Sometimes that might involve saying no, compromise will feature strongly but certainly in the meantime, as we prepare for the birth, it will require the purchase of a sofabed.

Perhaps it’s just intangible without baby on the scene… or the pregnancy hormones talking, but now we’ve had a chat about it, trust in our arrangement is the order of the day. And in my lucid moments at least the doubts are giving over to a feeling of optimism - that this thing is really going to work.

Article: Two excited mums to be 18th February 2015

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Vietnamese lesbian couple hold Valentines Day wedding on a plane

February 14, 2015 22:30 by PrideAngelAdmin
A Vietnamese lesbian couple have celebrated Valentine’s Day – by celebrating their wedding onboard a plane.

Same-sex marriage is not legally recognised in Vietnam – but last month the government repealed a law which actively criminalised gay weddings.

Passengers on the Vietjet flight to from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok today were presumably surprised to find themselves in the midst of a wedding reception for couple Tang Ai Linh and Pham Thi Thanh Phuong.

The pair – who have been together for 13 years – approached the airline to ask about the possibility of a ceremonial wedding – but the airline went all out, even decking out the plane with flowers.

According to Thanhnien News, the couple exchanged rings on the flight, before sharing a kiss and cutting their wedding cake.

The move last month to repeal the same-sex marriage ban was seen by many as a move designed to promote Vietnam’s image as a tolerant and accepting country, and boost tourism especially from LGBT travelers. It is the first country in South East Asia to make such a move.

Singapore’s courts upheld its anti-gay laws in October, parts of Indonesia punish homosexuality with 100 lashes, and Brunei passed a law calling for gays to be stoned to death.

Article: 14th February 2015 Photo:Thanhnien News

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Gay, lesbian, straight? looking to co-parent? we want to hear from you

February 10, 2015 20:31 by PrideAngelAdmin
I am a journalist of more than 30 years experience, writing frequently on issues of health, mental health, social issues.

I have been asked by the Guardian to write an article on new form families, and how and why they are frequently optimal parents, linked to the book of Susan Golombok's impressive research Modern Families to be published in March.

But in order to do this article I need a lead interview for my article with people willing to be identified and to talk about their choices.

I would like a couple - could be heterosexual or gay/lesbian - where one is having a child by artificial means as a result of meeting through the internet and who plan to co-parent either in the same or separate homes.

If you would be willing to feature in my article - and obviously I would be happy to discuss what I am doing by phone first - I would be delighted to hear from you.

Article: 10th February 2015 Angela Neustatter

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Dads refuses to give up Down Syndrome son

February 6, 2015 20:28 by PrideAngelAdmin
When Samuel Forrest of Armenia heard a baby crying from outside his wife's hospital room, he knew his life would change forever. Not only had he become a father, but he would soon receive some unexpected news about his newborn son.

"This pediatrician walks out of the room with a little bundle -- that was Leo," Forrest said. "She had his face covered up and hospital authorities wouldn't let me see him or my wife. When the doctor came out, he said 'there’s a real problem with your son.'

Forrest followed doctors and nurses into a room where he'd finally get to meet his baby. "When I walked into the room they all turned to me and said 'Leo has Down syndrome," he told ABC News. "I had a few moments of shock."

After the news had sunk in, Forrest held Leo for the very first time. "They took me in see him and I looked at this guy and I said, he's beautiful -- he's perfect and I'm absolutely keeping him."

Soon Forrest walked into his wife's hospital room with Leo in his arms. Her reaction was unlike one he ever expected. "I got the ultimatum right then," he said. "She told me if I kept him then we would get a divorce."

Attempts to reach the hospital for comment weren't immediately successful. The baby's mother, Ruzan Badalyan, told ABC News that she did have a child with Down syndrome and she has left her husband, who has the child, but she declined to elaborate.

Forrest, who's from Auckland, New Zealand, said he was completely unaware of the hospital practices in Armenia when it came to children.

"What happens when a baby like this is born here, they will tell you that you don’t have to keep them," he said. "My wife had already decided, so all of this was done behind my back." Despite his wife's warnings, Forrest said he never had a doubt in his mind that he would hold onto his son.

One week after his birth, Leo's mom filed for divorce. "It's not what I want," Forrest said. "I didn’t even have a chance to speak with her in privacy about it."

Forrest, who works as a freelance business contractor, has plans for he and Leo to move to his native country of New Zealand where he said they'll receive support from loved ones.

In the meantime, he's enlisted for some help on his GoFundMe page titled "Bring Leo Home."

"This really came out of the blue for me," he said. "I don’t have a lot, I have very little in fact. The goal is to raise enough for a year so I can get a part-time job so Leo doesn't have to be in daycare and I can help care for him. He's lost a lot in two weeks. It'd be different if he had his mommy."

Forrest has recently been working with disability awareness groups to share his story in the hopes that parents will become better educated on children with special needs.

"After what I've been through with Leo, I'm not going to sit back and watch babies be sent to orphanages," he said. "As a child with Down syndrome, that becomes somewhat of a label. If we can get around this label, we’ll see that they’re normal. They’re a little different from us, but they’re still normal.

"They all have niches and I want to work hard to find out where Leo's special. This little guy is great."

Article: 5th February 2015

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Pride Angel Journey - With two

February 3, 2015 22:26 by PrideAngelAdmin
We both woke very early that morning. That first morning when we both had a sleeping baby lying at our side. And we had the sort of intimate chat we'd not had for a long time - when you lie together dissecting the events of the previous evening: repeating amusing things said, trying to piece together everything that happened and chuckling about the things that are only funny afterwards.

But before long I slipped off downstairs. The babies wouldn't be sleeping much longer and there was work to be done. A birth pool to empty, clean and deflate - 180 gallons of bloodstained water to be siphoned off. A placenta to photograph, make prints of and then whizz up in the processor with a load of fruit - a birth-recovery smoothie. And the general clutter of a birth to remove from the living room before the grandparents arrived.

Then Luna woke up. And Willow woke up. And life with two children began.

Sal and Willow needed peace and quiet and rest and Luna, aged thirteen months, was quickly becoming a bundle of wild, toddler chaos. So I put her in the sling on my back and we left them alone. And when, that evening, I’d just got Luna to sleep in our big family bed, Willow suddenly cried, and Luna woke and let out a terrified scream – who was this new little creature, where had it come from? Their screams met and filled the room. I quickly gathered the clutter of our night – teddies and pillows and books – and took Luna along to the spare room, which soon became our room.

I wanted to hold little Willow, but he needed to be held by Sal. I wanted to change his nappy, but Sal could do it on her knee in bed. I wanted to spend time with him, but there was Luna and her chaos which disrupted the bedroom.

And so I learnt that it’s different with two. The dynamics change again. And perhaps it’s really only the lesbian mothers – the ones who’ve both given birth and watched their partner give birth – who ever know how different, how very, very different it is to be the non-birth parent.

Article: 3rd February 2015by Lindsey, West Yorkshire 6th January 2014

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Kundalini yoga and meditation for fertility

January 31, 2015 23:23 by PrideAngelAdmin
Kundalini Yoga can have a 50% success rate of pregnancy after being diagnosed with unexplained infertility

The value of yoga to a woman on the infertility journey may seem evident. Yoga provides deep relaxation, improves well-being, and offers the much-needed opportunity to release the anxiety of the mind and connect with the wisdom of the body.

What you may not know is that in addition to these essential benefits, the ancient practice of Kundalini yoga and meditation can work directly with the hormonal and reproductive systems to optimize their function and increase the probability of conception. Kundalini yoga is so transformative, in fact, that after six years of helping women heal their reproductive health, I’m convinced it is the shortest path to restoring fertility.

Mind-body research has shown that tension, anxiety, and other emotional disturbances interfere with vital secretions of the pituitary gland, the master endocrine gland that affects all the body’s hormonal functions. When a woman is under stress—and you probably don’t need to be told how crippling the emotional, mental, and financial stress of infertility can be—ovulation can be delayed or suppressed altogether. Stress also changes the immunologic functioning of the cells in the reproductive tract. Studies have demonstrated that as a woman learns to modulate stress, her fertility can change.

Kundalini yoga and meditation is a powerful means of reducing stress and restoring calm to a woman struggling to conceive, and this alone can be revolutionary. But it also goes further. Kundalini yoga employs prescribed sets of postures (called kriyas) to move energy up from the root chakra of the body through all seven chakras, or energy centres. Because the first three chakras house the reproductive organs of the female body, this flow of energy is crucial to a woman’s fertility. Specific kriyas, along with a meditation practice, also work with the parts of the brain responsible for reproductive health, such as the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the pineal gland.

In the Moon Goddess fertility yoga practice I have developed for my clients, I teach a kriya to optimize the functioning of the pituitary gland. The pituitary is responsible for regulating female reproductive hormones such as LH (luteinizing hormone, which causes ovulation), FSH (follicle stimulating hormone, which matures the eggs in the ovaries), progesterone (which causes the endometrium to mature so that it can support implantation of the fertilized egg), and estrogen. In yoga, the pituitary gland is also understood to regulate a woman’s mental and emotional health, an essential element of her ability to conceive.

Alongside these fertility-enhancing yoga postures, and equally vital to healing reproductive challenges, is meditation. The Kundalini meditation practices I share with clients are prescriptive in nature, so they are designed to solve a particular problem. For my fertility clients I use a breath meditation to restore regular menstrual cycles and harmonize hormonal health. Meditation directly affects the pituitary gland, as well as the hypothalamus and the pineal gland. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that signals the pituitary gland to release hormones. The pineal is the gland that produces serotonin, which is important for libido and well-being, and melatonin, which is connected with feelings of relaxation and is also thought to be involved in reproductive function.

Kundalini yoga and meditation work in tandem to reduce stress, improve the flow of energy to the reproductive organs, and stimulate the glands crucial for conceiving and supporting a healthy pregnancy. When combined with the personal guidance of a skilled teacher, I have found Kundalini yoga to be deeply healing. In six years I have seen a success rate of 50 percent among clients who were previously diagnosed with unexplained infertility. Within this practice lie ancient techniques that can and do help women release the pain of infertility and move beyond it into wholeness as the healthy, vital, fertile women they are.

Article: 31st January 2015

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Vouchers given to women in pregnancy help them quit smoking

January 28, 2015 21:10 by PrideAngelAdmin
Offering shopping vouchers worth a total of £400 to pregnant smokers makes them more likely to quit the habit, say researchers. They have published the results of a trial involving 600 women from Glasgow in the British Medical Journal.

More than 20% of the women offered vouchers stopped smoking, compared with 9% given normal NHS support alone. The Royal College of Midwives said incentivising healthy behaviours using money was "not ideal" - and expensive.

Women taking part in the trial had breath tests - as well as providing saliva and urine samples - to check whether they were smoking. Blood samples were monitored too.

In the randomised controlled trial, the researchers assigned the women into two groups of around 300. All were from the area covered by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which has large pockets of deprivation. This evidence shows that the money is the hand they need to pull them out of their addiction ”

The control group were offered a face-to-face appointment with a smoking cessation adviser, as well as four follow-up phone calls and free nicotine replacement therapy for 10 weeks. The financial incentive group received that standard support - as well as £50 in their first appointment, £50 if a breath test later suggested they had stopped smoking, and then a further £100 after another 12 weeks.

The final £200 voucher was given if another breath test at 34-38 weeks in pregnancy confirmed there was no carbon monoxide exhaled. After a year, 15% of women who received the vouchers had managed to stay off cigarettes, compared with 4% in the control group. The women used the vouchers at High Street stores such as Iceland, Argos and Mothercare.


The researchers from Glasgow and Stirling universities say providing the vouchers is cost-effective for the NHS, because smoking in pregnancy raises the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth.

But schemes using financial incentives to promote healthy behaviour have been criticised as "bribery" - and this remains a controversial area of research. The authors say in the BMJ: "This study provides substantial evidence of a promising and potentially cost-effective new intervention to add to health service support.

"Smoking during pregnancy remains a major health problem, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 5,000 foetuses and babies each year in the UK." "It is responsible for tens of millions of pounds in extra healthcare spending." "Receipt of financial incentives can contribute to needed household income in advance of the arrival of a baby in low-income households."

Read more ...

Article: 28th January 2015

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