I. What is raw food diet?
The raw food diet is defined as a type of diet of which at least 75% of the daily diet must be unprocessed and uncooked foods or foods can not be heating above 115 degree of Fahrenheit or 40C , including fresh fruit and vegetables and raw meats. It believes that the more raw food in your diet, the more healthy you are. While there are many benefits for people eating raw, such as increasing energy for our daily activity, improving skin appearance, assisting digestive process, stability weight loss with no risk of weight re-gaining, reducing the risk of heart and chronic diseases, because the diet contains high in trace minerals, essential vitamins, fiber and phytochemicals and less harmful substances, such as trans fat, saturated fat and salt, but it interferes with the natural process of human being over thousand years of eating cooked foods, such as smaller jaws and teeth , shrinking stomachs have shrunk, and longer small intestines and lengthening the digestive surface area.
Some alternative medicine, such as Ayurveda, and traditional Chinese medicine suggested that a raw-only diet may not be appropriate for people living in colder climates, because in order to fight off the constant cold or Prolong periods of eating raw foods deplete the yang qi in the body. Since most raw foods eaten in typical American raw food diet are cold, they will decrease the yang qi even further, leading to colding affects in our body, resulting in certain kinds of diseases, including blood stagnation and kidney yang deficiency, causing infertility in some severe cases.
II. What is Fertility and Infertility and the explained causes of infertility
Fertility is a natural process to insure the survival of human species. Through natural selection, we produce many offspring when the reproductive system works at it’s peak in a suitable environment with plenty foods around. On the other hand, the reductive system may completely shut down or work at its minimum state and we produce less offspring, when the environment is hostile including less foods around, war, epidemic, etc. but regardless any situation. most women are capable to conceive sometimes before menopause.
Infertility is defined as the inability of a couple to conceive after 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse. It affects over 5 million couples alone in the U. S. and many times more in the world. Because of an unawareness of treatments, only 10% seek help from professional specialists. In fact, about 35% of infertility is caused by the male’s inability to fertilize. 35% is caused by the female’s inability to conceive, 10% attributes to both, and 10 % is considered a failure with an unknown cause.
C. The unexplained causes of infertility
The Unexplained cause of infertility is defined as a condition of a healthy couple who have found no reproductive structure or medical problems, but for whatever reason, the female partner is unable to get pregnant, and modern technologies and doctors in conventional medicine fail to find the causes of infertility.
According to conventional medicine, a couple are diagnosed with explained causes of infertility can have children by going through the process of artificial insemination or other options such as adoption, or subrogation. Some women may seek help from traditional medicine, because of cost effectiveness or believing that traditional medicine can offer a more natural birth.
III. Before proceeding further, let us take a look
What is a menstrual cycle?
The menstrual cycle begins when the level of estrogen starts to rise. At certain point, the brain stimulates hypothalamus to produce Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnrH) which in turn stimulates the pituitary gland to produce the Follicle stimulating hormone(FSH), leading to initiating the growth and recruitment of immature Ovarian follicles in the ovary. At its peak, the pituitary gland switch to produce luteinizing hormone (LH), the FSH starts to decline which stimulates the mature of follicle and the production of estradiol and thicken of the uterus lining as well as promoting friendly cervical mucus, triggering ovulation, resulting in extruding egg from the ovary into the Fallopian tube and initiating the conversion of the residual follicle into a corpus luteum. The corpus luteum in turn produces progesterone in preparing the uterus lining for a possible egg implantation. If pregnancy does not occur, hormone levels plumped, and the thickened uterus limning is shed through the vaginal canal.
There are many thing involved to make the cycle regularly, but unfortunately any disruption may cause irregular menstruation and sometimes interferes the natural process of fertility.
IV. How raw food diet affects fertility in TCM perspective
While conventional medicine have never viewed irregular menstruation seriously, traditional Chinese medicine view irregular menstrual period as a tiny micro change in the female ecosystem. If not treat, it will interfere with the normal process of fertility and other women health’s diseases such as nervous tension menstrual pain and cramps etc. Especially if you are diagnosed with the unexplained causes of infertility with irregular period, then your menstrual cycle may be the causes.
V. How to treat raw food diet causes of infertility in traditional Chinese perspective
A. Understand the food classification in TCM perspective
By diagnosis the underlying causes and treating each woman as an unique entity and the body as a whole. Depending in what have been diagnosed, you may be given advice not to eat some kinds of food which may interfere the normal menstrual cycle and dampen your chance of fertility.
Cold foods in traditional Chinese medicine are considered as a type of food which may stimulate the colding effects in your body and deplete the yang qi as resulting of our body needs to counter the cold with yang qi in the body. Prolong period of taking these kinds of food without balancing them with other warm, cooked or hot foods may cause yang qi and kidney yang deficiency, resulting in interfering with normal function of the reproductive organ and leading to irregular period. For women who try to conceive should avoid to eat these types of raw foods or counter them with at least same amount of hot foods.
c) Grape fruit
g) Bitter melon
Same as cold food, but they are not as strong. It also depletes the yang qi but moderately, therefore eating these types of foods should counter with some warm food to avoid yang qi and kidney yang deficiency. Women who have irregular period and try to get pregnancy are advised to eat only moderate amounts and for nutrients only. Otherwise, they may dampen the chance of fertility.
Although neutral foods are types of food which have no effects in ying and yang qi in the body, but it may have other side effect such as rice, gain and potato which may interfere with insulin production of the spleen as well as liver function in carbohydrate metabolism.
c) All kinds of red meat
Warm foods are considered as food with warming effects in the body. It is most important foods
which are used most often for pregnant women as they can help to warm the uterus and maintain the healthy pregnancy and protect against miscarriage. Warm foods increase your body temperature and yang qi slightly.
a) Black tea
Foods with hot nature are normally good for improving immune system in fighting against forming of free radicals, bacteria and virus and increasing blood flow to the body, including the reproductive organs, but over eating these types of food may cause yin qi and kidney yin deficiency leading to hormone imbalance and interfering with natural process of normal menstrual cycle.
e) Green onion
f) Cinnamon powder
Finally, we would like you to know that most foods with bitter, sour and salty are classified as yin and hot and sweet are classified as yang.
B. How raw food diet causes infertility
Most raw foods can be either yang or yin pathogens. A typical American raw food diet is most yin and dampness pathogens.
1. Colding and cooling effects
Spleen is important to break down the food and transform them to energy for our body’s daily activity. Too much raw foods weaken and slow the digestive system, leading to nutrients deficiency, including the following
a) Fatigue, tiredness and sluggishness
b) Nervous tension
c) Bloating and gas
d) Unclear thinking
e) Cloudy urine
Typical raw foods diet puts more strain on the digestion. If spleen is damaged caused by prolong intake of raw food, it may weaken the digestive system in absorbing of nutrients, leading to less efficient assimilation of nutrients. In fact, traditional Chinese medicine view the process of transformation of foods and transportation of nutrients are a warm process in nature, and raw foods are more cold in nature, After entering the stomach, our body need to raise temperature before the food can be digested and absorbed.
2. Dampness affects
Raw foods interfere with the spleen in controlling the internal dampness caused by impairment of water metabolism within the body or spleen damage due to prolong in take of raw dampness hot foods, leading to impairing the spleen yang and the development of interior damp-cold, resulting in qi and blood stagnation, leading to delay menstruation and menstrual pain and cramps. Raw foods cause dampen effect including the following
a) Milk products
c) Lettuce, alfalfa,
d) Raw honey
And the symptoms include
b) Reduced appetite
c) Abdominal bloating and discomfort
d) Other related spleen deficiency symptoms
3. Kidney yang deficiency
Kidney yin is defined as the foundation of the fluid of the body, therefore it helps to moisten, nourish the organs and tissues and maintain the body fluid balance with fire of kidney yang. Raw foods are yin in nature, prolong intake of may decrease the yang qi in the kidney, leading to fluid imbalance, resulting in irregular menstruation and in serve case, causing infertility.
a) Lack of energy
Deficiency of kidney yang causes inability of kidney in stabilization of energy, leading to abnormal flow of energy, disrupting the blood flow to the body organs including ovaries in egg production resulting in distorting the normal menstrual cycle in women, leading to irregular period.
b) Blood Flow
Deficiency of kidney yang also increases the risk of irregular blood flow as the heart must work harder to provide more energy to our body, leading to abnormal function of capillaries and interrupting the normal function of small veins in the nervous system, causing dizziness, hearing problems and ringing in the ear. It also causes abnormal blood flow to the reproductive organs, distorting the menstrual cycle.
c) Digestive system
Spleen is one of important organ needed to break down the food and transform them to energy to keep our body active. A person with kidney yang deficiency caused by raw foods diet weakens the digestive system in absorbing vital vitamins and minerals, leading to severe digestive disorder and nutrients deficiency.
d) Sexual libido
People with kidney yang deficiency feel decreasing in sexual desire as resulting of low level of testosterone and progesterone being produced caused by abnormal function of corpus luteum. If the problem is not treated, it may disrupt natural process of normal menstrual cycle.
e) Lower temperature
It also decreases the body temperature that interferes with egg, cervical mucus production.
4. Blood deficiency
Blood deficiency is defined as not enough blood to distribute to our body organs needs. Tradition Chinese medicine view blood deficiency is caused by weakened liver organ as resulting of a weaken spleen due to prolong period intake of raw foods, thereby reducing the liver function in blood formation, causing not enough blood to distribute to the body such as absence of (no blood for) menstruation or scanty menstruation.. It also leads to abnormal function of reproductive system in regulating menstrual cycle, that disrupts the production of egg or produces poor quality egg and makes uterine mucus hostile to sperm
There are many symptoms of blood deficiency including
a) Palpitations caused by your heart have to work harder, because of not enough blood in the body.
b) Forgetfulness and poor memory caused by not enough oxygen delivering to the nervous cells need
c) Insomnia: because of brain cells can not transmit information between themselves, leading to over production of certain hormones.
d) Shortness of breath: you lung has to harder to provide oxygen to your body needs.
e) Dizziness and fatigue is due to oxygen and energy shortage.
f) Constipation due to lack of fluid in the body
g) Pale complexion: lack of blood
5. Blood stagnation
Blood stagnation is defined as qi stagnation or qi deficiency in the liver. In traditional Chinese medicine, raw foods cause freeze and constrict circulation, leading to blood stagnation resulting in menstrual irregularities and sometimes infertility, because of blocking of the blood flow or blood become static to the reproductive organs..
a) Blood stagnation is caused by liver qi imbalance, it reduces the liver function in regulating the secretion of certain hormone in the prostaglandins family thereby, increasing the risk of abdominal cramps, thus causing blood stagnation in the abdominal region.
b) Liver also helps to regulate the secretion of insulin from the spleen, abnormal function of spleen increases the risk of diabetes, leading to blood stagnation in the reproductive organs.
c) Imbalance of liver qi also causes inability of liver in fat and protein metabolism, leading to nervous tension and increasing the risk of hormonal imbalance causing irregular menstrual cycle.
C. How raw food diet causes infertility by looking back to conventional medicine menstrual cycle in TCM Perspective
Estrogen which is yin pathogen in TCM, is required to stimulate the brain action in production of Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (FSH) by the hypothalamus. Raw food diet increases the kidney yang function, causing hormone imbalance with low estrogen and high progesterone and testosterone. Deficiency of yang ( or high level of estrogen) obstructs each step of in the estrogen phrase of the menstrual cycle, causing irregular production of hormones from pituitary gland in secreting FSH and LH and ovaries function in production of follicles such as poor egg quality, thinner the uterine lining which can support an egg implantation and early ovulation.
In some women, it causes menstrual irregularity, but in severe case, it increases the risk of infertility. The symptoms of kidney yang deficiency include
a) White coat on tongue
b) Pale, frigid appearance
c) Achy pain in joints or muscles
d) Cold extremities
e) Poor digestion
f) Tendencies toward stagnation
Progesterone is considered as yang pathogen. Raw food diet is considered cool or cold in TCM perspective, it reduces the the yang qi to certain degree, depending on types of raw foods consuming daily by each individual. Since the second phrase of the menstrual cycle is the increased production of progesterone ( yang in TCM ), it affects the ability of egg extruding and deter the normal process of supporting the uterus lining in egg implantation as well as increasing the risk of producing cervical mucus which is hostile to sperm invasion. In severe case, it makes conception difficult for some women and infertility to others. As the level of progesterone rise, blood is required to support the uterus and the uterus lining in egg implantation and embryo nourishment. Raw foods cause freeze and constrict circulation, leading to blood stagnation and deficiency, resulting in lessening the chance for the normal process of making a baby.
Testosterone ( yang in TCM) is produced in small quality during the progesterone phase. Deficiency of yang qi reduces the production of testosterone, leading to low sexual desire, poor muscle tone and fatigue.
In traditional Chinese medicine, raw foods cause freeze and constrict circulation thereby reducing the spleen function in food transportation and weaken the liver function in blood formation, leading to blood stagnation in the productive organs including the uterus, causing not enough blood to support the process and for menstruation if pregnancy does not occur.
D. How raw food diet causes irregular period by looking back to 5 phrases menstrual cycle in TCM Perspective
The traditional Chinese medicine divide the women menstrual cycle into 5 phrases
1. The yin phrase according TCM) lasting about 10 days
In this phrase The yang ( progesterone) decreases rapidly and the yin (estrogen) starts to rise, leading to the growth of body fluids, supporting the production of blood and producing sperm friendly mucus as well as making the uterus lining thicken for egg implantation. The deficiency of yin or abundance of yang distorts the production of fluids which are necessary for moister and nourish the blood, causing shortening of yin phrase, leading to not enough time for egg to mature and uterine lining to grow thick enough for egg implantation, resulting in lessening the chance of fertility and increasing the risk of irregular period.
2. The Ovulation phase, lasting about 4 days
At the estrogen (yin) at its peak, liver triggers the starts the ovulation phrase, as resulting of stimulating of the brain action in production of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (FSH) by the hypothalamus of which in turn stimulates the pituitary gland to produce the follicle stimulating hormone, leading to initiating the growth and recruitment of immature ovarian follicles in the ovary. In this phrase, qi and blood moves downward to promote the implantation of the egg and nourish the uterus to support the growth of embryos. Deficiency of yin and blood stagnation caused by raw food diet shorten the ovulation phrase, leading to not enough time for egg implantation and uterus lining to support the growth of the embryo, causing infertility or miscarriage as well as irregular menstruation.
3. The Yang phrase, (see The luteal phrase)
During the fourth phase, yin decreases to allow growth of yang (mutual consumption of Yin and Yang). Growth of yang helps to warm the Uterus. Raw food diet causes yang deficiency, thus colding the Uterus that distorts the normal process of egg implantation.
4. The luteal phrase, lasting about 12 days (including the yang phrase)
The luteal phase also is referred to day after ovulation to the day before period. In this phrase, a mature egg was released at ovulation as resulting of the production of progesterone from corpus luteum in preparing the body for pregnancy. Raw food diet causes yin deficiency and liver qi stagnation, leading to rising temperature and distorting the luteal phrase process, resulting in increasing the risk of infertility or irregular menstruation.
5. Menstruation phrase, lasting about 5 days
According the to traditional Chinese medicine, this phrase is dominated by the movement of blood and qi moving downward as resulting of dropping of the level estrogen and progesterone( yin and yang), since raw foods cause freeze and constrict circulation, it causes blood and qi stagnation, leading to delay menstruation, delay period and scanty period.
E. How traditional Chinese medicine helps to treat yang deficiency caused by raw food diet with diet in general approach
a) Appropriate diet
If you are raw food diet follower, make sure you increase the percentage of cooked food in your diet.
b) Moderate exercise
While raw foods interfere with the spleen function in digesting and absorbing nutrients, moderate exercise increases the digestive system in production of stomach acid and enhance blood circulation thus promoting a healthy spleen.
c) Relax and rest
Stress and rest are always a problem for people living in this fast pace society, we face stress constantly everyday, such as sickness of your child, workplace pressure, etc. You make sure that you take a lot of relaxation and rest to avoid the abnormal production of certain hormone.
III. The summary
The raw food diet has written an important page in the America (world) health history as its contribution to make us healthier and reduce the death rate of heart diseases and stroke will never be denied. Since traditional Chinese medicine have been round over 4000 years and proven to be one most effective traditional medicine in treating the unexplained causes of infertility, its idea toward raw food diet must be right in some extent. The aim of this article is to provide reader the other point of view, with no intention to offend anyone, including the raw food advocates. If you are offended by this article, I say sorry. If you are raw food diet supporter and diagnosed with the unexplained causes of infertility, I urge you to give it a try. Although, I don’t consider myself as a raw food supporter, but 50% of my daily food intake are considered raw.