Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Prescription for Healthy Conception

Many of us know someone who has grappled with infertility, although only about 15 percent of couples trying to conceive don’t get pregnant as easily as they’d like.

Did you see the news report a few weeks ago about how antioxidants can help men with low sperm counts? Researchers in New Zealand reviewed more than 30 studies, focusing on men who were subfertile. Subfertility occurs when a man is less fertile than average but still capable of making a baby. While subfertility only affects about 5 percent of men, it is responsible for half of delayed conceptions.

Researchers believe that up to 80 percent of subfertility is due to the effects of oxidative stress on sperm cells, which lowers both their numbers and quality. They found that taking antioxidants seemed to help with fertility problems, as the men who took them were more likely to get their partner pregnant, and their partner was more likely to have a live birth.

While this is exciting data for any couple trying to conceive, the numbers of people in the combined studies was pretty small. The 34 studies combined totaled 3,000 couples undergoing fertility treatments, including in vitro fertilization and insemination – two of the more common methods of increasing conception odds when sperm-related issues are involved. All of the studies looked at the potential role of at least one antioxidant.

Based on 96 pregnancies among 964 couples in 15 of the studies, the researchers found that antioxidant use by the male partner increased the odds of conception four-fold. In the three studies that contained birth data, the men who took antioxidants improved the likelihood of their partner giving birth to a live baby by a factor of five. While this is an exciting statistic, the findings of increased live birth rates with antioxidants was based on a total of only 20 births, which is a small number.

The antioxidants used in the studies varied and included vitamins C and E, and minerals including magnesium and zinc. Even though a large study is not on record, couples who are trying to conceive might want to take a multivitamin and mineral formulation rich in antioxidants. It’s an expensive and low-risk option that could speed the conception process.

A related story in the news last month caught my attention, and this one concerned women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder that affects 5- to 10 percent of reproductive aged women. Women with PCOS have irregular cycles and problems ovulating. Since the 1990’s scientists have been studying how insulin resistance impacts PCOS. Being overweight and sedentary aggravates insulin resistance which worsens PCOS, so losing weight and getting (and staying) active are keys for women with this condition. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids are recommended for their anti-inflammatory benefits.

With omega-3’s and multivitamins so affordable, it makes sense for both men and women interested in conception to add these supplements to their daily routines.

To purchase Cooper Complete supplements, visit the Cooper Store.

Antioxidants may improve male fertility

Role of antioxidants in treatment of male infertility: an overview of the literature

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: The Most Common Hormonal Disorder for Women

Jill Turner is VP Operations for Cooper Concepts, the company that markets Cooper Complete nutritional supplements. Email (jsturner@cooperwellness.com) or call 972-560-3262 with your questions and comments regarding supplements.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why Lutein? Lutein, supplement ingredient found in Dermatologic Health, Eye Health, and Cooper Complete original multivitamins (incl. Elite Athlete)

Lutein, a nutrient found in dark, green, leafy vegetables, increases skin hydration and elasticity and protects against skin inflammation and eye diseases. Lutein is present in tissues in the eyes, skin, cervix, brain, breast and blood serum, but is not produced by the body and must be consumed in food or supplements. Lutein is a supplement ingredient in Cooper Complete Iron Free and With Iron, Elite Athlete, Dermatologic Health and Eye Health.

“You probably eat foods containing lutein, like spinach, collard greens, kale, broccoli, corn and eggs, but you would need to consume a fair amount of them daily to reap lutein's full benefits,” says Todd Whitthorne, president and CEO, Cooper Concepts in Dallas.

Daily intake of lutein is low in industrialized countries and has been found to be even smaller among U.S. than European residents.

Developed by the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, the Cooper Complete Dermatologic Health supplement contains lutein and other key nutrients that promote healthy skin, hair and nails. The product was formulated by board-certified dermatologists and includes ingredients that have proven beneficial in scientific studies.

According to a study published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology in 2007, FloraGLO® Lutein, made from marigold flowers, promotes long-term, skin health by increasing elasticity and lipid content, and by decreasing lipid oxidation – which can cause skin degradation. Skin's lipid content is comprised of oily components that create a healthy look. Lutein shields skin from exposure to ultraviolet light and protects against sun by bolstering the skin's antioxidant, defense system. FloraGLO® is the form of lutein contained in all Cooper Complete products.

Another supplement, Cooper Complete Eye Health, is formulated to provide nutrients that are clinically proven to help eyes.

“Lutein has been shown to lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration, which is the main cause of blindness in Americans ages 65 and older,” Whitthorne says. The macula is a yellow spot near the center of the retina of the eye, and it absorbs excess blue and ultraviolet light, acting as a natural pair of sunglasses. The macula's yellow color comes from its lutein and zeaxanthin content.

A study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology in 2007 included 4,500 participants between 60 and 80 years old, and found that lutein strengthens eye-cell membranes and prevents free radicals from harming eye cells. Lutein is an antioxidant that may protect the macula tissue by quenching free radicals. Lutein also filters high-energy, blue light that can damage the macula and skin.

“Our eyes are very active metabolically, and proper nutrition, including antioxidants, are vital to vision,” Whitthorne says. “Cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and dry eyes can trouble aging Americans.” Increased intake of lutein helps lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Research has shown that lutein has anti-inflammation effects. In a study published in 2007, State University of New Jersey researchers found that lutein helps lower potentially dangerous, skin inflammation.

To purchase Cooper Complete supplements, visit the Cooper Store.

Our toll free number is 888.393.2221; email us at Questions@CooperWellness.com.