Season 1, Episode 49

Solving Infertility with Jaclyn Downs

In this episode, we speak with Jaclyn Downs, a functional nutrigenomics consultant, author, and researcher with a passion for fertility optimization and reproductive wellness. Jaclyn explains that nutrigenomics is the interplay between nutrition and our genes, and how nutrition and toxins can affect how our genes are expressed. She provides insights from her comprehensive guidebook, Enhancing Fertility Through Functional Medicine, which focuses on understanding and resolving unexplained infertility.

Her book is aimed at those suffering from advanced maternal age infertility, PCOS, endometriosis, and those preparing for IVF cycles. Jaclyn works closely with fertility practitioners and clients, giving them the tools and information necessary to determine root causes for reproductive challenges.

Functional medicine testing can be used to uncover issues that impair fertility, such as mold toxicity, which can be present in places where it is not visible and can cause allergies and reactions. Inflammation and oxidative stress are leading causes of subfertility and are also discussed.

Tune in to this episode to learn more about how nutrigenomics and functional medicine can help solve unexplained infertility and promote reproductive wellness.

 

Key Notes

  • Nutrigenomics is the interplay between nutrition and our genes that can affect how our genes are expressed.
  • Jaclyn Downs’ book, Enhancing Fertility Through Functional Medicine, helps resolve unexplained infertility.
  • Oxidative stress is a leading cause of chronic imbalances that impair fertility and must be addressed before fertility can be improved.
  • Mold toxicity can impair fertility and cause allergies and reactions, and urinary mycotoxin testing can help identify it.
  • Inflammation and oxidative stress are leading causes of subfertility.

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Read This Episode Transcript

Lorne Brown:

By listening to the Conscious Fertility Podcast, you agree to not use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others. Consult your own physician or healthcare provider for any medical issues that you may be having. This entire disclaimer also applies to any guest or contributors to the podcast. Welcome to Conscious Fertility, the show that listens to all of your fertility questions so that you can move from fear and suffering to peace of mind and joy. My name is Lorne Brown. I’m a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and a clinical hypnotherapist. I’m on a mission to explore all the paths to peak fertility and joyful living. It’s time to learn how to be and receive so that you can create life on purpose.

Welcome to the Conscious Fertility Podcast. Today our expert guest is Jaclyn Downs. Now she’s the author of the book, enhancing Fertility Through Functional Medicine, using Nutrigenomics to solve Unexplained Infertility. And I’m going to get her to define Nutrigenomics in a moment. She’s a functional neu nutrigenomics consultant that has a passion for fertility optimization and reproductive wellness, and through the use of functional lab testing, detailed health history symptoms, genetics, environmental, and epigenetic influences, she works with fertility practitioners and clients to give them insight and tools to better determine root causes for reproductive challenges. Jacquelyn has her bachelor of science degree in psychology, and she has a master’s degree in holistic nutrition. In addition to being a certified health coach, she also holds a certification in genetic nutrition with the Nutrigene Genetic Research Institute, where she’s also a researcher and she can be contacted through her website as well.

Jaclyn downs.com, which we’ll put in the show notes, we’ll put her Instagram handle down there as well. And I got to know Jaclyn because she wrote this book as I mentioned, enhancing fertility through functional medicine using nutrigenomics to solve unexplained infertility. And I had the privilege to read the draft and write the forward in the end to your book. And then I contributed a little bit to your low level laser therapy chapter for fertility as well. So we’ve had some discussions over the last little while and it’s just so nice to be able to have you on the podcast to talk about your book and what you’re doing, coaching both clients and health practitioners. So welcome to the show.

Jaclyn Downs:

Thank you. I was really looking forward to getting to have a wholesome chat with you. It’s been a while, it’s been bits and pieces.

Lorne Brown:

It’s true. And can you kind of start to define Nutrigenomics because reading your book and talking to you over the plus years now, there are ways to explain unexplained infertility, so basically resolve that. But let’s start with what is Nutrigenomics?

Jaclyn Downs:

Nutrigenomics is basically the interplay between nutrition and our genes and how nutrition affects our genes and how our genes can affect how we receive transport or absorb or degrade nutrients. And so there’s very much interplay there. Also, what people just think about nutrients, but also toxins affect the way that our genes are expressed as well.

Lorne Brown:

And so your approach then is kind of getting to the cellular level. And can you share kind of what inspired you to write this book? This is not a thin little book. This book is comprehensive. You go into crazy detail and give a 12 weeks kind of plan to help optimize your fertility on a cellular level. So this is not just for unexplained fertility. When I read this book, this is for advanced maternal age and fertility, P c OSS endometriosis going into an I V F cycle. To me this is you’re wanting to increase your chances of getting pregnant egg and sperm cell uni receptivity, like we say at our clinic in ACU balance, nourish the soil before you plant the seed. This book is how to nourish your soil, how come you wrote this book?

Jaclyn Downs:

Because people need to know that. I feel like everybody’s just talking about forcing hormones into specific ranges, making sure that the anatomy is working, but it really comes down to oxidative stress. And once I learned about oxidative stress through doing research with the Nutrigene Genetic Research Institute, this was about 10 years ago, I got hired just to research M T H F R, this one single gene. And then as we know, that quickly evolved into every other gene in the pathway and then multiple pathways and how they interact. But oxidative stress is at the heart of every single chronic issue and imbalance that there is pretty much. And so I wanted to shout it from the rooftops that this is what oxidative stress is, which basically is the imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants. It’s when you don’t have enough antioxidant capacity to neutralize free radicals and these free radicals start damaging the cell. This is the cellular information as well as the physical structure of the cell. And so my book details various things that cause and contribute to oxidative stress, which damages cells and sperm and eggs are cells, but also cells make up whole systems and organs and glands and tissues. And so it’s all connected and it really does come down to a cellular level of how well your cells are functioning.

Lorne Brown:

And you’re talking oxidative stress. I remember a study where they talked about the ovaries capacity to deal with oxidative stress is reduced with age and therefore the egg quality becomes damaged and we have those chromosomal issues. So oxidative stress to you, this is that they call it body rust. So this is what can damage the body cells, egg cells, and sperm cells. But oxidative stress is part of living and we need some oxidative stress. If you don’t have any oxidative stress, then that’s not good either because it’s always about balance. So can you talk a little bit more about this ative stress and where you’re seeing it as an issue in the real world because we do need it, but maybe we have too much of it because of what? What’s causing our oxidative stress issues and how do you like to address it and how can you test for it?

Jaclyn Downs:

Absolutely. So oxidative stress is one of those things, like many things in our body that needs to be in that sweet Goldilocks zone, you need oxidative stress to fight off pathogens. In studies in labs, they had mice with, they knocked out a lot of the antioxidant genes or certain specific ones, and then the mice couldn’t fight off whatever pathogen it was. And so we need that oxidative stress. It’s there. It’s kind of like acute inflammation is really good for when we get hurt or get some injury or exposed to something. But it’s that chronic low grade inflammation or oxidative stress, that is what causes the damage and wears down the body and ages the body faster.

Lorne Brown:

Oh, that’s key. I like to share with the audience when it comes to fertility, we want to be as biologically young as possible and things like chronic systemic inflammation leads to inflamm aging. And so we have accelerated biological aging in premature degenerative diseases and I say premature fertility decline. And so we’re grouping oxidative stress as part of this inflammatory response and oxidative stress is causing accelerated biological aging. So you can be chronologically 40, but biologically 50. And your approach here then is to help reverse this aging so they can become chronologically 40 again if that’s their chronological age. Sorry, they’re already chronological 40. Can they become biologically 40 again? So can you talk about functional medicine testing? Because you talked about genes in the book, you talk about turning on and off genes. So I thought, because I know the naturopathic doctors in our practice, they’re using a lot of functional medicine testing and eating nutrigenomic type testing, genetic testing. It doesn’t seem to be mainstream yet in a lot of the reproductive clinics. So can you share why you’re educating those to look at not just the fertility workup, we’re still recommending the conventional workup, but what are some of the functional medicine testing you like and why the genetic testing? And that can tie into some of the things that you’re seeing that are impairing fertility, right? Obviously looking for these things that are impairing it. Can you share a little bit about that?

Jaclyn Downs:

Sure. Well, that was a really loaded question, so let me see if I can,

Lorne Brown:

I’ll shrink it up a bit. Do each piece. So let’s ask it this way then. What are the things besides oxidative stress that you talk about in your book because the interfere with fertility of that peak fertility and what’s the testing that you like to do or to help uncover these things so we can address them?

Jaclyn Downs:

Okay. Yeah. So more and more just about every single client that I have seen and many of the practitioners that I work with, a lot of people have unknown. They are affected by mold toxicity. So then this is a huge one, and this is becoming a very, very popular topic in the functional community. And so a lot of people think, well, I don’t see any mold in my house, so I don’t think I have any exposure. But it could be an old farmhouse you grew up in or it could have been a college dorm that you were living and breathing in 10 years ago. And so most mold is not visible to the eye and it’s not mold that’s necessarily the problem. Yes, we can have some allergies to mold and reactions, but it’s mold when it feels threatened, it kicks out mycotoxins to claim its territory. And those are really, really shown to be damaging to all the cells in our body. They are toxic to the kidneys, they’re toxic to the liver, they’re toxic to the reproductive systems and glands, especially Z E A zero-one is the big endocrine disrupting. And so doing urinary mycotoxin testing I have found does coincide with environmental testing if somebody is still currently living in a place with mycotoxins

Lorne Brown:

And can it be addressed? So if you find out you have it, is there a way to clear this?

Jaclyn Downs:

Absolutely. Yeah, and I have a whole chapter on that in my book with precision detoxification. So a lot of functional medicine doctors say, oh, well you have mold, so here take some glutathione. But glutathione is really only shown to help clear ochratoxin A and aflatoxin B one. And so if that’s not the type of mycotoxins you’re dealing with, then the glutathione is not going to cause or solve that issue. It’s not going to really clear that problem up for you. And so knowing which type of mycotoxin you’re dealing with, you can upregulate that phase two liver detox pathway that those mycotoxins are cleared through. And a lot of people talk about methylation, but glucuronidation is the one that I think should get some time on the microphone

Lorne Brown:

And other things that are leading to the root cause that you’re thinking for subfertility inflammation, oxidative stress, you just mentioned mold toxicity. You also talk about iron dysregulation, which I find interesting because so many of the conventional labs, when we do our lab testing, we see ferritin on the lower end and even those that are severely anemic and have low iron, even when they get iron infusion, sometimes it’s hard to top them up. What are you calling iron dysregulation and why you’re seeing this as an issue for fertility?

Jaclyn Downs:

Most people think the issue with iron is that you’re deficient in it, but the blood can look deficient because we do have a lot of genes that are involved with transport and export of utilization of iron. And so iron needs to be properly used, properly chaperoned and used to not be an issue in the body. And so iron oftentimes will get stuck in tissues in the body and build up there and look low in the blood. And so it’s not an acquisition issue. So actually supplementing with iron can fuel the fire if you’re not properly using it. It’s a utilization issue. So we can do some testing, especially with the genes. The software that I use really has mapped out this whole what’s called the Fenton pathway, the fentin reaction. That’s where iron will oxidize and cause a whole lot of oxidative stress. Just like if you leave an iron rod out on your front lawn, it’s going to oxidize and rust iron that is not properly bound and chaperone and used in the body is going to oxidize and cause oxidative stress to the cell and damage it.

Lorne Brown:

Okay. I’m learning lots from you today, Jacque. It’s nice to chat with you. Let’s go into some of the testing that you’d like to do and more the whys behind it. Is there anything we haven’t touched on? I know what I wanted to ask you, histamine, I want to talk about just this inflamed state. We see people in over reactive and more so because not just our patients that are looking to grow their families in my practice, but we’re seeing more and more people since the vaccines that they seem to be sensitive and overreactive, lots of skin issues showing up and they’re having to do massive changes in their diet, this histamine reducing diet. But you talked about this way before it became a bigger issue with covid and the covid vaccine. So can you talk about how this is impacting fertility, how you like to test it and treat it as well?

Jaclyn Downs:

Okay, so histamine and estrogen feed each other. And so histamine is simply, it’s released by the mask cells, which are a type of immune cell and oftentimes it gets really trigger happy and it gets really sensitive to anything. And so it’s kicking out this high alert reaction to the smallest things. And so people, this also can tie in with bigger immune issues like autoimmunity and stuff like that. But as far as histamine goes, your histamine is like a bucket in your body and it can fill up rather quickly, especially depending on your genetics. Some people have a really huge histamine bucket and it rarely gets filled up and other people’s are really small or the drain that the histamine is metabolized and think about it like a bathtub or a bucket. Their drain is really small or it’s clogged. And so symptomatically, a lot of people think, well, I don’t have histamine issues because I don’t have hay fever, I don’t have itchy eyes, runny nose, bronchial constriction, but histamine has its fingers in so many pots in the body.

It affects our digestive system, our circadian rhythm, our cardiovascular system. And so that’s why I said estrogen and histamine feed each other. So you can have a lot of reproductive and menstrual issues. And the big flag for me is when somebody says that they feel worse right around ovulation because right before ovulation is when our estrogen is at its highest. And so if people are getting migraines or feeling nauseous, that is a huge flag that histamine is an issue. And so just because you don’t have hay fever, typical allergy type symptoms doesn’t mean that histamine isn’t an issue. So can measure histamine in the blood. There’s a couple roundabout ways. First, there’s the straight out whole blood histamine that you can get, but also eosinophils and basophils, which are standard in conventional medicine as well. They are a good roundabout way to see if histamine is an issue for you.

If that is elevated above two or 3%, you might want to investigate or try a low histamine diet, but really you want to go further up and see what’s causing it. Am I just eating a lot of really high histamine foods like am I drinking kombucha every day? Am I eating fermented foods, which are really great? I don’t want to discourage people from eating fermented foods, but if histamine’s an issue for you, you’re actually creating more stress on the body than you are helping your gut. Or it could be a genetic issue where you just don’t have the capacity to clear the histamine as well as somebody that doesn’t have the genetic profile that we

Lorne Brown:

Do. And you mentioned the guts was making me think about in our practice how we’re very interested our naturopathic doctors in the gut microbiome. Is this something that interests you when it comes to reproductive health?

Jaclyn Downs:

Absolutely, yes. I firmly believe that it really does, and the gut is tied into everything. And so we want to make sure that we’re not eating inflammatory foods that we’re reacting to, that are causing inflammation in the gut and causing intestinal permeability. And also if the gut isn’t working well, then we’re probably not eliminating and we have to be eliminating these toxins or they’re going to recirculate and just further burden our liver. And you need proper liver functioning for hormonal balance.

Lorne Brown:

And what about the impact of stress? Because I think about stress, how it can lead to, I think of downstream, right? The adrenaline, the cortisols, these, how it can lead to inflammation on the body, how it can turn on and off genes not for great health and just aggravates so many disease processes in the body, including impact fertility. So do you talk about addressing stress and do you see this as an impact on optimizing egg and sperm quality?

Jaclyn Downs:

Absolutely, 100%. And I have a whole entire chapter on that with a lot of different recommendations and modalities. So everything from grounding or earthing to getting sunshine to moving your body, that doesn’t mean start jogging or going to CrossFit. It’s just doing something that works for your body type that makes you feel good, that doesn’t make you feel exhausted or irritable an hour after you’re done. This is learning to say no. I even just talk about creating boundaries in my book. So there are many, many aspects, and of course you don’t have to do all of them. You can just pick what resonates with you and work on that and you can always build off of that. But yes, absolutely 100% the stressors in our lives are affecting our health and our balance.

Lorne Brown:

And I’ll add to that for our listeners. It’s not just the stressors, but it’s how we perceive it. So without having to change your environment, having to change the stressor, there are tools so you can change how you perceive, react to it, so it doesn’t have a stressful impact on you for many of the stressors, obviously some of them you need to get out of that environment because there’s no way you can, yeah, it’s just sometimes you have to remove out of the environment. But most of them, many of them I will say then it’s how we perceive it and tools like a meditative practice, our patients are aware this is research on this acupuncture for the good endorphins and really reducing stress. I like to practice my conscious fertility. We have the podcast, but I have a whole conscious approach in my practice teaching tools.

So they’re Qigong for fertility. We have a course that we launched on Accu Balance to help optimize fertility with Qigong, but that’s also stress reducing. So stress is negative on our bodies. And the good news is most, there are so many tools that we can use in our lives, so it negates the stressors. So I don’t get too worried about saying stress is not great because Jaclyn so many people go, now you’re stressing me out. You’re saying stress isn’t good for me, but this is about empowering, saying, yeah, you want to feel good. Then it’s an inner journey, not an auto journey. This is not a stress talk, but it’s not about trying to change the environment. It’s more about changing your internal environment and then you’ll perceive your outer environment more.

Jaclyn Downs:

Very well said, yes. And a lot of these things are free or very inexpensive. I talk about mindful breathing and I give three different breathing techniques that you can try and also tapping or e f t, it’s one of those might help can’t hurt things if you are a little bit like skeptical of the WOOWOO type stuff. It just takes a few minutes and if you do it a couple minutes every day, you might notice benefit. And so these are a lot of actionable tools and there are many options for you. If one doesn’t work, something else probably will.

Lorne Brown:

And my high powered lawyers and executives type a women that I see when they come in and I do tapping as part of my conscious work, they love the woo woo stuff. They always say, how does that work? And there’s great research now on on how to fix cortisol, the amygdala and hippocampus and even the vagus nerve. So it’s really great that we’re seeing research because people are feeling the difference. So yeah, there’s a lot of simple tools. There’s a lot of inexpensive tools.

Jaclyn Downs:

I talk about the limbic system and the vagus nerve in my book and recommend a few things that you can try or resources that you can turn to

Lorne Brown:

On the internet. Vagus nerve techniques and tools are out there as well.

Jaclyn Downs:

Many of those are free and or really inexpensive. Then of course there’s your really fancy in depth programs as well too, depending on how deep you want to go.

Lorne Brown:

So for our listener’s sake here, if somebody’s wanting to optimize your fertility, what is your approach? Can you give us an outline of your approach, which to me is probably the index of your book, the table of contents of your book, but a lot of them haven’t picked up your book yet. Again, I encourage you all to check out Jaclyn’s book solving unexplained Fertility, your 12 week functional fertility plan. And I’ll remind you that this is not just for unexplained in fertility. This is a way to optimize fertility no matter what your diagnosis is. But can you share with us your approach?

Jaclyn Downs:

Yeah, and so I actually had somebody beta read my book. It was a client from years ago, and she said, you know what? I’m going to recommend this to my brother because even though they’re not trying to get pregnant, he’s dealing with some chronic issues and I know it’s inflammation and so he doesn’t need to take the infertility and the hormone stuff so much, but doing all of the action steps to address a lot of these things causing oxidative stress is going to help his chronic condition. And so I was like, that’s exactly right. I just sort of curtailed the book and catered it to the fertility community because that’s where my passion is and my previous career was in birth work and all that, but really it’s for any kind of chronic inflammatory condition.

Lorne Brown:

We share that because the podcast is called the Conscious Fertility Podcast. However, majority of the presentations even who are trying to grow your family, the conscious work you can benefit from. And here we are now talking about the physical body and the same thing. A healthy body is that fertile expression body. And so you don’t have to be trying to grow your family to implement what you share if you want to experience better health because that’s what’s going to optimize your fertility, but it’s just going to optimize your health on a cellular level. Can you share an overview of what the 12 week action plan would look like? How do you start it? Does it start with testing?

Jaclyn Downs:

It starts with a very, very detailed intake health history case study where I ask so many questions on everything from their poops, and I will ask people more about their poop than probably anybody ever else has because you can tell a

Lorne Brown:

Lot. You have to. Chinese medicine doctors love talking about the bowels, so we’re probably on the same wavelength. We get you to look into that toilet bowl and

Jaclyn Downs:

Yep, peek at your blue. Everybody peek at your pill.

Lorne Brown:

Yeah, so you and Chinese medicine doctors love to talk about bowels. Absolutely.

Jaclyn Downs:

Yep, for sure. So what kind of bowel movements, what are your periods like? Is there brown blood coming in before the red blood? Are they clotty? Are they crampier? Are you having mid cycle problems? I also ask about houses they may have grown up in. I actually ask for their current address if they want to share it only for pulling up Google maps and seeing where they might be living near that could be contributing to some sort of oxidative stress. Say if it’s a factory like a plastic factory or a farm that sprays or something like that, that could absolutely be affecting you, especially if you are somebody with genetic predispositions for weaknesses in that area. So what else do I talk about? Sleep. I ask about sleep hygiene. I ask about water that they’re drinking. A lot of people have well water and they don’t realize that the statistic is that your well is vulnerable to anything, any runoff within four square miles.

And so a lot of water testing companies don’t test for things like perchlorate and glyphosate, stuff like that. But you can pretty much get anything tested these days. So my approach starts with a really in-depth intake and then based on those person’s top symptoms and goals, I’ll say, okay, well it seems like this and this are the root of what is going on for you. So we can recommend some testing. And oftentimes that’s something called a urine organic acids test, which is probably the most run test in my practice, even more so than a Dutch, because if somebody’s coming to me and they have some issues, of course their hormones are going to be imbalanced. I’m not going to start out with a hormone test. I’m going to clear the things that are causing the hormone imbalance and get the gut right and clear out the mold and all that kind of stuff, and then measure a true baseline of the hormones. So the urine inorganic acids test is a big one.

Lorne Brown:

That one gives so much information. We like that a lot in our practice at ACU balance, you can look at, you’ll see inflammatory triggers, you’ll see oxidative stress, you can tag on for the essential fatty acid as well, markers, detox pathways, mitochondrial dysfunction. You can really get a lot of stuff that impacts, as I call it, the soil or the cellular environment. So yeah, we like that as well.

Jaclyn Downs:

Yeah, I feel like that’s a lot of bang for your buck

Lorne Brown:

And it’s a lot of buck, but it’s a lot of bang for your buck. It’s true organic acid access tests you like. Sometimes you do the Dutch test. Anything else?

Jaclyn Downs:

The mycotoxin testing. And I do like regular good old blood tests, but oftentimes people need to request additional markers. Ferritin’s not always on a standard blood test. Whole blood histamine isn’t sedimentation rate isn’t. So there are certain other blood markers that can be tacked on. Also, full thyroid panel, I’m sure plenty of people have talked about this beyond just T S H and maybe T four. You want to know the whole picture of what’s going on with the thyroid as well.

Lorne Brown:

I’ll share with our listeners that Dr. Kaylee mc, naturopathic doctor has an episode, I don’t remember the episode number, but on functional medicine testing. So you can check out that episode as well for more detail. And then Jaclyn goes, has a whole chapter on this in her book. And then if I recall in appendix, you list some of the testing companies that you like to use. If I recall,

Jaclyn Downs:

I do have a reference section with a few testing companies and I’m not affiliated with them. And if I am, I state it there. But as far as the big lab companies go, I have found them to be very, very revealing for a lot of my clients. And so I just wanted to put that in there. And I don’t even know if these labs know that I mentioned them in my book. And so I just wanted to say that I did write my book for two demographics. So is I don’t want to deter anybody that is trying to get pregnant or sustain a pregnancy because it sounds like it’s really heady and in depth and nerdy. So the regular part of the text is written for the motivated lay person. And then I have appendices where all of the biochemical and genetic really meaty, nerdy stuff is so you can absorb what you want and leave the rest.

Lorne Brown:

Yeah, I can give a copy to your practitioner, tell ’em to buy a copy for sure. And Jaclyn and I have been chatting and I’ll just let my colleagues know. So those that are practicing functional medicine, the naturopathic doctors and the Chinese medicine doctors that have a focus on reproductive health, Jaclyn has a course on healthy seminars. So we’ll put some of that in the show notes or contact us. But if you want to learn how to diagnose and treat like Jaclyn, then follow along with the book, then we’re going to have that as a resource for you guys as well. So you do some testing and then kind of your approach to reverse a lot of this stuff. I’m assuming diet’s a big part of it.

Jaclyn Downs:

Yes, and there is no one diet that works for anyone. So I like to say that my book looks at really common, but lesser known root causes of oxidative stress and therefore fertility challenges. So for instance, oxalates, some people may need a low oxalate diet, but I don’t want to deter people from eating high oxalate foods because some of the highest oxalate foods are also some of the most healthy foods.

Lorne Brown:

Can you define that first oxalates so our listeners know what you’re talking about?

Jaclyn Downs:

Sure. Oxalates, everything in nature has its protective mechanism from getting eaten. So oxalates are compounds in plants that bind to minerals in the body, and a lot of animals inherently know not to eat these things, but we consume them often as far as humans go. And we’ve sort of lost our innate ability to know what’s good for our bodies and not. So the most commonly well-known issue with oxalates are kidney stones, they’re calcium oxalate crystals, but really less than 5% of oxalate issues present as kidney stones. So these little jagged crystals can get lodged in muscles causing muscle pain, connective tissue causing fibromyalgia, pain joints causing joint pain. They really like to tend to form around the pelvic bowl, so that’s urinary your bladder, even vulvodynia, interstitial cystitis. These things all do and can have ties with oxalates. And so like I said, there’s no one diet that works for everybody Now, some people are genetically predisposed to just needing to follow a lower oxalate diet or stay away from high oxalates.

And then other people, it would just be like a protocol while we’re getting their fats on track and while we’re healing their gut and clearing out the mold because oxalates can be produced by excess fungus in the body. And also fat maldigestion is the number one documented cause of paper, which is too many oxalates in the body. So I have a whole chapter on that too, if that’s just overwhelming to you. I break it down really simply. But yeah, so there’s low histamine diets and there’s low oxalate diets and there’s gluten-free diets and there’s dairy-free diets and diet. Me personally, I try not to do things too restrictive and too militant because that just creates a wagon in which people fall off of. And so if we can verify it with testing and we can just try and take out the smallest amount of things that we can, then I feel that leaves the variety that feeds the good gut bacteria and has a broader array of nutrients.

Lorne Brown:

Your book is comprehensive. So again, a shout out to your book, encouraging both our listeners, whether you’re public or practitioner, to check it out. Again, for the practitioners on healthy seminars, those that are familiar with healthy seminars, we have some more resources with Jaclyn and I find we’re aligned with what you shared in your book. So you’re talking about tightening up those blood sugar levels, you’re addressing inflammation, oxidative stress, you’re looking at diet, the functional medicine testing. It’s what we do at our clinic. And so that’s why it was so aligned and then just how you explained it in your book, and then we just got more information from there. So it was such a great resource. Even we practiced so similar how you shared this, we have the low level laser therapy, you have that in your book, you talk about it, you use acupuncture as well.

And just going through your book, it was nice to see what you were sharing. And again, just some of the explanations, some of the research you share, introducing us to some tests that we weren’t different companies and stuff. So it was a good read for me. And I think it’s that idea in your title that I’m solving that unexplained infertility, not everybody’s going to go through an I V F cycle or are able to, and even if they are reproductive endocrinologist that I do talks with often, she often says, garbage in, garbage out. If you’re going to do an I V F, you want that egg and sperm cell to be optimal. And so garbage in, garbage out, just do an I V F doesn’t guarantee that health blueprint of your child, that healthy child or pregnancy, that’s what your book does. Your 12 week action plan is how to optimize that egg and sperm quality, that cellular environment and those that listen to me, the nourish in the soil, getting that soil optimal so that egg and sperm can reach their peak fertility potential. This is what you’re sharing. It’s fantastic. Right.

Jaclyn Downs:

Well, thank you. And as far as the soil goes, a lot of people relating to genetics and genomics, I don’t recommend genetic testing just for isolated genes because no gene works in isolation, but I know M T H F R is a really, really commonly known gene. People are just testing for that and then they’re saying, oh, well, you need more folate. And that’s just putting one nutrient into your soil rather than nourishing the soil with everything that it needs naturally. And going back to diet, it’s not necessarily any dietary theory or approach. It’s also I talk more about just eating clean, real unprocessed unsprayed food and avoiding the toxins and all of the preservatives and flavor enhancers and texturizer and all of that stuff.

Lorne Brown:

I’ll share because you’re talking diet on the ACU balance website, it’s free. We have the ACU balance fertility diet with recipes that I wrote with my colleague, Dr. Kaylee MCIs. So I just want to let you know, Keith, what should he eat? We have that free diet on our website, and Jaclyn talks so much about diet and ideas in her book. So there’s lots of resources out there. And as she said, there’s no right diet. It depends on the individualization, but there are certain things you can definitely know to incorporate and not to incorporate. So diet’s key, another important thing that you share in your book. So thanks for doing that as well. As we wrap up here, is there anything you wanted to share with your listeners from your experiences consulting and for both health professionals and for the people that are looking to grow their families?

Jaclyn Downs:

I did just mention that no gene works in isolations, and also just because you have a genetic variant does not mean that it is expressing. And like you had mentioned, our genes can get turned on and off, but I more recently have started likening it to a dimmer switch because it’s not that they’re full on or full off. There’s things that can affect the functioning to a certain degree. So just doing genetic testing is not necessarily a diagnostic in itself because genes all work in layers. There’s a lot of things upstream and a lot of things downstream, and we don’t know for sure if they’re expressing. And that’s why it’s really nice to pair genetic testing with functional lab testing so you can actually see if those genetic predispositions are manifesting. And if so, to what degree?

Lorne Brown:

Yeah, it’s good to unpack that a bit because often when you do this testing, genetic testing, people will think of it as like a death sentence. They get quite concerned. And as you’re sharing, as we now know based on how many genes we have, I think, what do they say? We’re comparable to the fruit fly or something. We don’t have that penny for all the processes that happen. And so many other things are happening like an orchestra for things to manifest. And so I use the word predisposed. For example. I’ve had my testis, so I’m a poor methylator, right? So because of that, there’s things I can do to help with inflammation. So it’s just because of the test, it’s inspired me to be a little bit more conscious. And now I test certain inflammatory markers annually just to see am I manifesting that predispose and vitamin D is one of my issues as well.

And if I don’t take a good dose of D, you can start to see it get lower and lower and lower. So it allows me to and our patients to check for things where they’re predisposed. So predisposed doesn’t mean it will happen, it just means you’re at risk for it happening, whereas somebody else could eat or do or live a certain way and they’re never going to get X disease or something’s going to happen because just the way their blueprint is. And then some of us are more at risk, but it doesn’t mean we’ll get it. It just means at risk. And for me, it just motivated me to take steps, lifestyle dietary to help minimize that risk.

Jaclyn Downs:

Yes, it’s very, very empowering. It’s not a death sentence. It’s like, hey, good to know that this is an issue. It’s not an issue now. Or maybe it is depending on testing or symptoms, but you can take steps to prevent and be proactive and support and compensate for any of those genetic variants. So I just think it’s more empowering than it is disempowering.

Lorne Brown:

And just on this note, I didn’t think I was going to ask this, but it’s coming, it’s in my mind now is some of the tests we can see poor detox pathways. So I always get curious for those that are doing a lot of hormone treatments are back-to-back IVFs, how does that impact them? Because some people respond well and better if they do back-to-back IVF cycles and then some people on the birth control pill just feel terrible or after an I V F things don’t seem great. Are you seeing this based on in their genetics and in the organic acid testing? Are you kind of being able to see that you can predict this?

Jaclyn Downs:

I’m so glad you asked that. Yes, a hundred percent because depending on how, so your hormones are produced, you have hormone receptors that are like where those hormones fit into a keyhole, and then you transport your hormones and you degrade your hormones. And all of these are dictated by your genes every single step of that way. And so some people might have some phase one issues with some cyps as far as which pathway the estrogen’s going to go down. So you might be taking all of this estrogen, but if you’re going down the four hydroxy pathway, that’s the quote, breast cancer, d n a damaging pathway, and you’re not doing something to support that, then you likely may be causing more of an issue. But then also phase two, liver detox is a huge part of it. So you could be getting all of these hormones, but you’re not able to clear them.

And so they’re just getting recirculated in the body if you’re not able to metabolize and clear them from the body. And of course, if you’re not pooping every day, I talk about this bottoms up approach to detoxification in my book where if you’re not pooping every day, don’t do anything to stimulate liver detoxification because it’s like you can take all the trash from each room in your house, but if the trash truck’s not going to come, then it’s just going to start building up in and around your house. And so we need to make sure that you’re able to eliminate the toxins every day. But yes, knowing your genetics, we can see what your phase one and phase two liver detox pathways are, especially in relation to hormones as well as specific toxins and certain drugs and stuff like that.

Lorne Brown:

And I want to remind myself and our listeners that this sounds complicated, but it’s simple, simple in that even if you didn’t know your genes, your genetic predisposition, remember the body wants sleep. So sleeping body loves movement and rest. So there’s lifestyle eating, a nourishment nourishing diet, having community stress reduction practices. So if you give the soil what it needs, add a little water, pull some weeds, your body’s going to do what it needs to do. So I just want to remind you guys like, oh my God, I got to do this. That really, it is simple. All the things you’re hearing about what your great-great grandparents kind of did, right? Eat healthy, organic, stay away from the chemicals. So I just want to share that it’s not as complicated as maybe it could be sounding as we’re chatting. It’s true

Jaclyn Downs:

Because, oh, sorry to interrupt all the things you just said, help to ensure proper gene expression. And so it really comes down to the simples and the basics. And now there’s some really complicated cases where it’s good to know your genetics if you really have a specific issue, but really it comes down to all of these things that regardless of what our genetics are, this is what the human body is designed to thrive and have vitality on.

Lorne Brown:

If you’re doing these things and you’re still having weird gut things or incredibly uncomfortable menstrual cycles, just things that this doesn’t seem healthy, this is where it gets individualized, and this is where the testing can really come into play to see, okay, this is where you can get individualized medicine, where you do these type of genetic testing and organic acid testing. And some people just want to know, like me, I just wanted to, well, we were doing it with our patients, so I had to be the Guinea pig. So I tested everything, and then I realized I didn’t get a good deck of cards. I didn’t have to, but just so my audience knows, I used to be a C P A chartered accountant. It was my health issues that brought me into Chinese medicine for my own experience. So it wasn’t like I tested and all of a sudden I found out I didn’t have a good deck of cards.

I kind of knew I didn’t have a good deck of cards. I struggled with health my whole life until I started experiencing Chinese medicine and naturopathic medicine and changing my life. And then later in life I’m feeling good. But when I did all my testing, it was like, oh, that makes sense. But the other tests that show what I’m expressing come back really good, but I’m predisposed. I changed my life. So I guess that’s something I want to share from a personal experience, poor health, I didn’t know my genes back then, but made these changes that you share in your book, right? All the diet and lifestyle detoxifying, and then my body changed. I felt different. I felt healthier. So you can reverse some of these disease processes and you can reverse some of this biological aging as well. And so I encourage you to look at Jaclyn’s website and check out her book. And if you’re a practitioner, check out more of her resources on healthy seminars. And again, that title of her book is Enhancing Fertility Through Functional Medicine, using Nutrigenomics to Solve Unexplained Infertility. I’m Jaclyn, thank you so much for sharing this information. Thank you so much for writing your book as well and coming on our show on the Conscious Fertility Podcast.

Jaclyn Downs:

Lorne, thank you so much. It’s an absolute pleasure.

Speaker:

If you’re looking for support to grow your family contact ACU Balance Wellness Center at ACU Balance, they help you reach your peak fertility potential through their integrative approach using low-level laser therapy, fertility, acupuncture, and naturopathic medicine. Download the ACU Balance Fertility Diet and Dr. Brown’s video for mastering manifestation and clearing subconscious blocks. Go to accu balance.ca. That’s a c balance.ca.

Lorne Brown:

Thank you so much for tuning into another episode of Conscious Fertility, the show that helps you receive life on purpose. Please take a moment to subscribe to the show and join the community of women and men on their path to peak fertility and choosing to live consciously on purpose. I would love to continue this conversation with you, so please direct message me on Instagram at Lorne Brown official. That’s Instagram, Lorne Brown official, or you can visit my websites Lorne brown.com and ACU balance.ca. Until the next episode, stay curious and for a few moments, bring your awareness to your heart center and breathe.

 

Jaclyn Downs's Bio

Jaclyn Downs's Bio

Jaclyn Downs is the author of the book, Enhancing Fertility through Functional Medicine: Using Nutrigenomics to Solve ‘Unexplained’ Infertility.

She is a Functional Nutrigenomics Consultant that has a passion for fertility optimization and reproductive wellness. Through the use of functional lab testing, detailed health history, symptoms, genetics, environmental and epigenetic influences, she works with fertility practitioners and clients to give them insight and tools to better determine root causes for reproductive challenges. Jaclyn has a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Drexel University and a master’s degree in holistic nutrition. In addition to being a certified health coach, she holds a certification in genetic nutrition with the NutriGenetic Research Institute, where she is also a researcher.

Hosts & Guests

Lorne Brown
Jaclyn Downs

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