Melatonin is a natural hormone which the body produces during the night while you sleep; melatonin acts as a strong ovarian antioxidant and has been shown to have a protective and rejuvenating effect upon female fertility. A number of studies have found that supplementing 3 mg of this hormone at night before sleep may help to increase egg quality, improve IVF success, boost the success of Clomid cycles and may help to correct luteal-phase-defect. The results are impressive, plus many women find that they get much better sleep quality when they take melatonin regularly.
However, if you live in a part of the world where you cannot purchase melatonin you may need to find ways of increasing your melatonin levels naturally with products such as cherry juice. According to a 2011 study from Northumbria University cherry juice can significantly increase the levels of melatonin that your body produces and improve the 'efficiency' sleep by increasing the duration and quality of your zzzzzzzs.
The study - led by Dr Glyn Howatson - analyzed urine samples from 20 healthy volunteers as they drank a 30 ml of either tart Montmorency cherry juice or a placebo juice twice daily for one week. The study found that drinking cherry juice daily was associated with a 15-17% increase in natural melatonin production. While this will still be less than the 3 mg amount used in the studies on melatonin and fertility, boosting melatonin production naturally may help in lieu of supplements being available.
The cherry juice consumers added about 25 minutes to their total sleep time and had less daytime napping compared to the placebo group and had better 'quality' sleep. Co-author Dr. Ellis was quoted as saying:
"Although melatonin is available over the counter in other countries, it is not freely available in the UK. What makes these findings exciting is that the melatonin contained in tart cherry juice is sufficient to elicit a healthy sleep response."
"What's more, these results provide us with more evidence surrounding the relationship between how we sleep and what we consume."
Tart cherry juice also contains an abundance of antioxidants which may also help to resolve sub-fertility; many studies have correlated both male and female infertility with increased oxidative stress which is largely caused by antioxidant deficiencies.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT intended to diagnose, offer medical or nutritional treatment or replace medical or nutritional advice for which you should consult a suitably qualified physician or dietitian.
European Journal Of Nutrition Online Nov 2 2011