Supplementality and Body Revolution

I am fortunate enough to have made the acquaintance in cyberspace with a friend of a friend who has gone to CCRM and is now pregnant with twins. Her fertility situation is a lot different from mine, but it is still good to know someone who went there and had such a good experience.

Because she had had poor embryo quality at another IVF clinic, her doctor at CCRM said that going on the supplement protocol that they prescribe for “poor responders” couldn’t hurt. She went on this supplement protocol and did acupuncture, and three months later, she had a 300% increase in her AFC, and she had many normal embryos, two of which are growing healthily inside her as I type.

It took me about three seconds to ask via email if she would mind sharing that supplement protocol with me. (I realize now that the protocol is out there on countless message boards and blogs.) She shared it with me, and that afternoon, I spent more money than I ever have at the Vitamin Shoppe. From what I can gather online, her doctor (Dr. Surrey) is more likely to prescribe the protocol than is Dr. Schoolcraft, who believes the protocol will not hurt but might be a waste of money if you are trying to improve egg quality. One message-board contributor did say that Dr. Schoolcraft does recommend one part of the protocol for egg quality–high dosages of CoQ10.

I have been taking the full protocol since Tuesday. I have been a big believer in supplements and herbs since college, and it has been frustrating to not try certain things because of all the misinformation out there on the web and in books, warning you against basically anything other than a prenatal vitamin. To hear that CCRM supports this list makes me happy. Who knows—maybe the psychological effect of being able to physically do something, anything, in an effort to improve my chances is what this supplement protocol is really about, for me. In any case, here it is:

Myo-inositol – 2 grams, 2 x/day

Melatonin – 3 mg, at bedtime

These two must be taken together. See this article abstract to read the study that supports this combination. I am starting out with only 1 mg of melatonin because it increases depression—I have had some increased lability since taking it, that is, I am a little bit weepier than usual. I will need to adapt to it slowly. As I sleep more soundly and more regularly on the melatonin, the good sleep will mellow the effects of the melatonin on depression, I’m sure. Or at least that’s what I’m counting on!

Co-enzyme Q10 – 200 mg, 3 x/day

I have some in powder-capsules, and some in ubiquinol. The ubiquinol is much more easily absorbed into the system—and of course more expensive. I might have to bite the bullet here pretty soon and take only COQ10 suspended in ubiquinol.

Omega 3 fatty acid – 500 mg, 1 x/day

I am taking one 1000 mg gel capsule a day, omega 3 in flaxseed oil. I am also finishing off my DHA (not be confused with DHEA) from my last pregnancy.

Vitamin C – 200 mg, 1x/day (in the morning)

I got 250 mg chewables—couldn’t find 200 mg.

Vitamin E – 200 IU, 1 x/day

I am taking this one in the afternoon.

L’arginine – 1000 mg, 2x/day

This pill is enormous! It increases blood flow to the sexual organs, including the ovaries. A good one for DH, too.

Pycnogenol – 100 mg. 1 x/day

This is the bark of a French Maritime pine tree that also increases blood flow and stimulates the reproductive organs. It is anti-inflammatory and anti-infections. And a good one for DH.

The big one on this list that I am NOT taking (yet?) is DHEA. The “testosterone pill” that I need to read more about to understand. I will ask Dr. Schoolcraft if he recommends it for me, and if so, get pharmaceutical-grade DHEA through a prescription from him. My gut tells me that it will help, but I am not going to mess with this without a prescription and monitoring.

You can read about many of these supplements here.

Also–of course I am still taking a prenatal, Folgard, and baby aspirin for the heterozygous Factor V Leiden!

In other news, I am working out. Not just my regular yoga routine (which I have not followed well this summer–I am ramping it up now) but an actual exercise program, which was generously given to me by my dear friend R.

Because I am, generally speaking, pop-culture illiterate, and because I have been secluded in the world of academia for the past three years, I did not know about Jillian Michaels. So when R gave the DVDs to me, I didn’t have any preconceived notions. The workout is “Body Revolution,” and I am now on Day 5….and I definitely feel better! JM is a little bit hokey, but her loving drill sergeant style is in a lot of ways just what I need, with my moodiness and lack of motivation. Sometimes when I feel weepy during the day, I’ll hear her voice: “Suck it up!” This is not to say that I think JM would make a great therapist, but sometimes I feel like I really need a kick in the ass. I am tired of my spells of sadness and withdrawal. I am tired of my spells of lethargy and hopelessness. I am tired of feeling like I have no control over my body. Of course I have control over my body. After a year of yoga (yoga is something I still want very much to write about in this blog; it is an important part of my life) I am craving something to add to it that is a little harder for me, a little higher impact, a little more cardio. I almost did not do my Day 5 workout today, but then I said to myself: “Why? Why would you not do this thing that makes you feel great? That makes no sense!” So I did it. Yay.

I have to work hard to change my head. Change my body, change my head. Change my head, change my body. And in a more dramatic way than I have previously. I do not have long before IVF, if we do it–just a few short months! I cannot be hopeless, terrified, anxious, and weeping. I cannot, because that will not serve me. What will serve me is being in the best shape, mentally and physically, that I can possibly be.

I read this last night in Before Your Pregnancy: A 90-Day Guide for Couples on How to Prepare for a Healthy Conception“[I]n a…study of women undergoing fertility treatment, lack of stress and a high degree of optimism at the outset appeared to have a strong effect on their long-term success in having a baby: those who verbalized more negative stress such as anger, fear, worry, or depression had less success with fertility treatment. The bottom line is that every person deals with mental stress differently, and we do not fully understand all of the ramifications of unmanaged stress.”

I have to be able to count on myself to manage my stress better than I have been doing, in recent weeks. I have to be able to count on myself to meet this IVF experience with a strong, wise mind.

Leaping around my living room with weights and resistance bands has been a good way to start.

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  1. I am leaving a comment in case you happen to reply. Is there a typo here? Do/did you really take 2 grams of Myoinositol daily? Do you mean 200 mg?


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