Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2014
Written by  Kim Neher, MS

Functional fertility: food sensitivities

When it comes to fertility challenges or the label “infertility,” the problem can be much more complicated than poor egg and sperm quality or uterine linings. Fertility can be affected by the foods we eat, our immune systems, life stress and structural imbalances, to name a few factors.

We are now looking at food and how it affects fertility. Most of you are already aware of the obvious things when it comes to diet, such as limiting sugar and processed foods, avoiding alcohol and eliminating caffeine. However, many people don’t realize that food sensitivities, even to healthy food items, can impair fertility.

A specialized blood test using patented technology can be used to identify food sensitivities. This test involves observing your white blood cells in the presence of common foods. If the blood cells enlarge, burst or shrink when combined with a food, this indicates a sensitivity. Based on the response, the test classifies foods and herbs into four categories: reactions can be “severe,” “moderate,” or “mild,” or foods can be “acceptable.” These sensitivities can manifest in a multitude of ways, including headaches, heartburn, gas, bloating and weight gain, and they can even impair fertility.

What is the link between food sensitivities and infertility? There are several we know about, and probably more we haven’t identified yet.

When an immune reaction occurs, a type of white blood cell called a macrophage releases interleukin 1, which suppresses the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and disrupts the steps needed for follicle development and ovulation.

Specialists in the functional medicine field have observed that many patients become pregnant after eliminating foods identified on their food sensitivity test. Their belief is that the immune response causes inflammation in the fallopian tubes, preventing proper movement of the egg to the uterus. In addition, they have observed improved sperm counts, motility and morphology in men following a customized food-sensitivity-elimination diet.

Any autoimmune condition can benefit from food sensitivity testing, including endometriosis and autoimmune infertility. The cause of endometriosis is unknown, but European countries classify it as an autoimmune condition. Food intolerance, chronic infections and stress all exacerbate autoimmune symptoms.

Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects women who are both overweight and of normal weight. The cause is not fully understood, but it is possibly due to ovarian overproduction of testosterone, elevated insulin levels or a genetic tendency. A result of these hormone imbalances is an improper ovarian response leading to poorly developed follicles, lack of ovulation and/or ovarian cysts. Following one’s food sensitivity test results and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program can facilitate weight loss for overweight clients with a diagnosis of PCOS. Often a small amount of weight loss can normalize hormone function and enhance overall fertility.

The following symptoms are possible indications of food sensitivities. Take a look and see if any apply to you. If you have many symptoms, a food sensitivity test may be one useful tool to use.

  • Arthritis or joint pain.
  • Asthma.
  • ADHD.
  • Chronic diarrhea.
  • Chronic constipation.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
  • Stomach pain or cramping.
  • Intestinal bloating.
  • Fatigue.
  • Diabetes.
  • Infertility.
  • Frequent infections.
  • Eczema, rashes or acne.
  • Hay fever.
  • Headaches or migraines.
  • Inability to lose weight.
  • Persistent canker sores.
  • Stuffy or runny nose.
  • Hives.

Unexplained infertility is a diagnosis that leaves women feeling confused and frustrated. Following one’s customized food sensitivity diet recommendations empowers women, improves hormone levels and benefits overall health. For many clients, this leads to a healthy pregnancy and baby. 


Kimberly Neher, MS, is the clinical nutritionist located inside The Chiropractic Advantage. Her passion lies in supporting people’s health through evidence-based medicine (risks versus benefits of medications) and healing therapies through nutrition. Kimberly has experience working with clients regarding weight and fatigue issues, sports nutrition, food sensitivities and allergies, and general health concerns such as high blood pressure, high glucose levels, high cholesterol/triglycerides, thyroid conditions and irritable bowel disorders. To learn more, call 920-358-5764 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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