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Low Stomach Acid and Miscarriage

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by Ivy Eff

A lot of people have heard that there is a connection between low stomach acid and miscarriage.

On the surface, that may not make a lot of sense since the stomach and the uterus don’t directly interact. However, a closer look reveals three possible connections.

1. Low stomach acid could mean low thyroid. Low stomach acid is a symptom of underactive thyroid — also known as hypothyroid. And it’s been well established that proper thyroid levels are very important in getting and staying pregnant simply because the hormones produced by the thyroid gland interact with reproductive hormones in various ways.

You can have low thyroid levels despite a “normal thyroid” diagnosis. The tests doctors use to establish whether you have low thyroid are based on a certain cutoff number. If you’re below that level, then you are diagnosed as hypothyroid. However, even if you’re only barely above the cutoff, you’ll be diagnosed as having normal thyroid. It doesn’t make a lot of sense since you still have low thyroid and hence, you could still have plenty of hypothyroid symptoms.

2. Low stomach acid also means lack of nutrition. There’s another way that low stomach acid could possibly lead to miscarriage. Since stomach acid helps you absorb the nutrients in your food, a lack of stomach acid could lead to a lack of nutrients — even if you’re eating well. With reduced absorption, you could find yourself with low levels of iron, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and other key nutrients for pregnancy.

Acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion are signs of LOW stomach acid. It seems like the opposite would be true, but it’s not. All of these conditions are basically the same thing — they result when undigested food sits in the stomach too long. It hasn’t been efficiently broken down, so it can’t be moved into the intestines. So it sits there and causes a burning sensation in the esophagus. Ironically, most people are treated for this with drugs that reduce the stomach acid even further. Or we go out and buy antacids ourselves. Really what we need is MORE acid to break down the food and get it moving through our system. Many people highly recommend using one tablespoon of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass of water for this.* It has long been known to bring rapid relief.

Lactose and gluten intolerance are also signs of low stomach acid. If you are already aware that you suffer from one or both of these conditions, it might be a sign that you are low in stomach acid. Simply by increasing the acid in your stomach, you may find that you digest these foods a lot better. Again, a one tablespoon of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar on a daily basis can make a significant difference.*

3. Low stomach acid could mean high candida. Anecdotally, it’s been said there is a connection between candida and infertility. Candida is essentially an overgrowth of yeast all throughout the body. This parasitic fungus leaches nutrients and causes tissue damage. Whether there is any connection between candida and miscarriage is unknown. But killing off candida overgrowth (a popular product is Candida Clear) has been said to help some people boost their fertility.

* Do NOT drink Apple Cider Vinegar undiluted in water or juice. By itself, it can burn your throat. Also, if you have high potassium, you may want to purchase betains, an over the counter hydrocholic acid instead. Do not do either if you have peptic ulcers. Work on healing those first instead.

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Turn back your biological clock with CoQ10/UBIQUINOL

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by Ivy Eff

Suggested: If taking Coenzyme Q10 ,  800-1000mg/day is recommended. If taking Ubiquinol , 300-600mg/day is recommended. (With both forms, if egg quality is poor, take a little more.)

Be sure to take it with some fat or with a meal to enhance absorption. Take it for at least 3 months prior to conception, preferably 6 months. Stop taking either form after embryo transfer or positive pregnancy test (not because of any recognized danger but simply as a precaution).

Caution: If you take CoQ10 or Ubiquinol late at night, it could keep you awake, much like a strong cup of coffee. Also, taking too much CoQ10 overall can lower your blood pressure, so it’s not a good idea to take it if you’re on certain medications. Check with your doctor.

Coenzyme Q10 and Ubiquinol
are essentially the same thing. The only difference is that ubiquinol is a purer, more absorbable form of CoQ10, which is why you need to take less of it. Since both are expensive, ubiquinol may be more economical, but it can be harder to find.

As you might have guessed, the name ubiquinol comes from the word “ubiquitous”, meaning everywhere. That’s because it’s a substance used by every cell in your body. Yet levels of Ubiquinol start to drop drastically around age 30 (or with certain drugs, like statins). So supplementation can start to play an important role at that point. And, as it turns out, the ovary one of the best sites for absorption.

Coenzyme Q10 / Ubiquinol is a form of enzyme that your body makes that helps produce the main fuel for mitochondria (the “engine” of each of your cells). In the case of egg cells, mitochondria is their only source of energy. As we age, our mitochondria slow down — essentially running out of gas. Imagining the enormous changes a fertilized egg must go through to become a healthy embryo, it’s no surprise that egg cells have 200 times more mitochondria than other cells and that they require tremendous energy.

As follicles get recruited (as many as 5 months before they’re actually ovulated), the mitochondrial DNA increases from 6000 copies to 200,000 copies. In the course of this, they are vulnerable to mutations and deletions which can result in chromosomally abnormal (aneuploid) eggs/embryos. Chromosomal abnormalities can cause failed implantation, chemical pregnancies, miscarriage, and babies with conditions like Down Syndrome. This is all much more likely when the “engine” of the egg cells are old and/or low on energy.

Before now, Western medicine has always firmly believed that the aging of eggs was irreversible. But according to a recent study involving CoQ10 and aging mice (equivalent to women in their 40s), it may actually be possible to improve egg quality and reverse some age-related infertility. In the study, the aging mice given CoQ10 got nearly double the number of ovulated eggs and consequently had litters nearly twice the size as the control group. What’s more, 100% of the mice given CoQ10 got pregnant compared to only 70% of the control.

Another study involving cow embryos found CoQ10 supplementation produced a higher rate of embryo cleavage, blastocyst formation rate, hatching rate, expanding blastocysts and larger size of inner cell mass.

A major breakthrough that these studies prove is that egg health is not purely about the number of years your eggs have existed. Indeed, your nutritional status is a key factor as well. And Coenzyme Q10 or Ubiquinol could make a big difference.

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Early miscarriage is linked to VITAMIN B12 deficiency

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by Ivy Eff

Recommended dosage: 400-1000 mcg twice a day. Take in combination with folic acid or (preferably) folate 

In one study, a group of women who had had multiple miscarriages and no full term pregnancies were supplemented with Vitamin B12. Two months later, they were allowed to try to get pregnant. A significant number of these women then went on to become pregnant and carry to term.

The conclusion of another study was that “Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the causes of recurrent pregnancy loss.

Yet another study (unrelated to fertility but about B12 in general) found that 39% of Americans may suffer from “low normal” levels of Vitamin B12. That is, the level falls below 258 pmol/L. Even though this level is considered to be well above the deficiency level (148 p,ol./L.), even at a low normal level, people often show symptoms of deficiency, like confusion or problems with balance. It could be extrapolated that if other deficiency symptoms show up a “low normal” levels, fertility could be affected, too.

Get checked specifically for your B12 level.

Some doctors make assumptions regarding B12 levels based on elevated levels of homocysteine and methylmalonic acid instead of testing the actual B12 level. But half of all women with low B12 actually have normal levels of homocysteine and methylmalonic acid. So request that your doctor test you. Keep in mind, too, however, that high levels of folic acid can hide a B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 is difficult to get solely from your diet.

It is notoriously hard to absorb Vitamin B12. First, it is only available from animal products. Second, it is very tightly bound to the animal products so it requires a lot of acid to break it off and make it usable. However, some people have naturally lower stomach acid. For others, their stomach acid levels reduce as they get older. Without high levels of stomach acid, your body may be unable to separate and use the Vitamin B12 found in your foods.

Your body may also be unable to use some supplements of B12.

Even with supplementation, many people have difficulty obtaining Vitamin B12. That’s because B12 usually found in the form of cyanocobalamin. Unfortunately, in order for the body to use cyanocobalamin, certain enzymes in the body need to convert it first. But common defects in enzymes — as well as dietary deficiencies, or abnormal tissues  — can make you unable to convert and use that form of B12 at all. In that case, no matter how much B12 you think you are supplementing with, if it’s in the wrong form for you, your body may still be quite starved of it.

Another form of B12 is known as methylcobalimin. This form DOES NOT need to be converted first, so it is ready to be used by the body immediately. For those with the common MTHFR gene defect (which may be as many as 50% of the population and across multiple ethnicities), high levels of homocysteine, or neurological problems, this form can be especially effective.

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