What is oxidative stress and how can it affect fertility?

Suggested ad (Fairhaven Health)

While the causes of infertility can’t always be identified, something called “oxidative stress” is often a key culprit. Oxidative stress is what happens when there’s an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body.

Oxidative stress may be impacting your fertility

A free radical (or just radical) is an atom without an electron. Everyone has them, they’re natural, but in excess, they bounce all over the place and damage cells around them, much like a single toddler in a china shop compared to multiple toddlers in a china shop. Aside from natural formation, the following can increase free radicals in the body: exposure to X-rays, ozone, cigarette smoking, air pollutants, and industrial chemicals.

The number of free radicals in the body overwhelm the body’s antioxidant defense systems. Researchers have warned about the potential for free radicals to cause damage to cells throughout the body, leading to a variety of health conditions, including heart disease and some types of cancers.

Free radicals – some are good, but most are bad

Free radicals are the MVPs of certain physiological processes – for example, the immune system depends greatly on free radicals to help fight off infections. Ironically, free radicals play a role in normal ovulation. For many people, though, keeping up with the rat race means stressing to the max. It can be really difficult to put together healthy meals or prioritize exercise, and both of these things can lead to excessive production of free radicals, which can tip the scale towards oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress doesn’t discriminate based on gender

Both the egg and sperm cells are susceptible to free radical damage, so if the body remains in a chronic state of oxidative stress, fertility can eventually be impacted. For women, this means a reduction in egg quality. For men, free radical damage to sperm cells has the potential to reduce sperm count and sperm motility, as well as increase DNA fragmentation.

Lighten your free radical load

With intention, you can decrease your exposure to the things that increase the production of free radicals in your body. Here are a few tips for lightening your free radical load:

  • Create some space between yourself and your WiFi router and other electronic devices. Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from electronic devices like WiFi routers and cell phones has been reported to cause oxidative stress. There’s no need to give up your connection to the world completely, but you can limit your exposure to EMFs by storing your WiFi router at least 10 feet away from your desk and storing your phone in a room other than your bedroom.
  • Go “green” when tidying up your digs by choosing household cleaning products that are free of harsh chemicals.
  • When you’re able to, try to choose local or organic fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products.
  • Choose BPA-free and phthalate-free personal care products, and see if you can have your receipts emailed to you (receipt paper is made with BPA).
  • Develop strategies for reducing stress that work with your lifestyle. Whether it’s meditation or a favorite TV show you need, be sure to take time regularly to care for your emotional health.
  • Try to get plenty of sleep in a dark room.
  • Find an exercise routine that suits you and your lifestyle. You might be a kickboxing queen, or a park-your-car-in-a-far-away-spot-for-a-longer-walk queen.

Antioxidants to the rescue

Antioxidants are an important weapon in the fight against oxidative stress. Antioxidants like CoQ10, vitamin E, Vitamin C, and alpha lipoic acid neutralize free radicals before they can harm egg and sperm cells. To help bolster your body’s antioxidant defense systems and protect your egg cells from free radical damage, it’s a great idea to add in a comprehensive antioxidant-based fertility supplement like FH PRO for Women to your daily routine. If you’re TTC with a male partner, check out FH PRO for Men, which was shown in a clinical trial to increase sperm count and sperm motility, and to decrease oxidative stress and DNA fragmentation.

Don’t let oxidative stress get you down

Free radicals are all over the place in our modern, stress-filled world. Making strides to avoid exposure to free radicals and taking antioxidant supplements to support the body’s ability to neutralize free radicals are important for promoting fertility.

Learn more about FH PRO antioxidant supplements.

Learn more

  • Shkolnik K, Tadmor A, Ben-Dor S, et al. Reactive oxygen species are indispensable in ovulation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jan 25;108(4):1462-7.
  • Ilacqua A, Izzo G, Emerenziani GP, et al. Lifestyle and fertility: the influence of stress and quality of life on male fertility. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018;16(1):115.
  • Nassan FL, Chavarro JE, Tanrikut C. Diet and men’s fertility: does diet affect sperm quality? Fertil Steril. 2018;110(4):570-7.
  • Arafa M, Majzoub A, Agarwal A, et al. Is there a role for oral antioxidants in the treatment of infertile men with high sperm DNA fragmentation? Presented at the Foundation of Reproductive Medicine annual conference, New York, November 2018.
  • Miller AB, Sears ME, Morgan L, Davis D, Hardell L, Oremus M, and Soskolne C. Risks to Health and Well-Being From Radio-Frequency Radiation Emitted by Cell Phones and Other Wireless Devices. Front Public Health. 2019; 7: 223.

This ad is brought to you by Fairhaven Health

Find the Ovia app for you!
Get our app at the Apple App Store Get our app at the Apple App Store Get our app at the Google Play Store Get our app at the Google Play Store