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Rated: 13+ · Critique · Health · #835150
a book EVERY woman should own
Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition: Can what you eat affect your menstrual cycles and your fertility?
Marilyn M. Shannon, Couple to Couple League International, Inc., 3rd Ed ©2001.

Let me begin this review with a quotation from this exceptional book:

“When a woman has a reasonably normal fertility-menstrual cycle, the practice of natural family planning (NFP) is simple, and the amount of abstinence is quite limited… While natural family planning may be practiced successfully despite a wide range of reproductive disorders, experience shows that couples are happier with it when the times of abstinence are not prolonged by various cycle irregularities…” (pp. ix, 2)

Marilyn Shannon’s small book paints a convincing picture of the close connection between nutrition and fertility, both male and female. She makes what the scientific community has reported all along accessible to those of us without the time or inclination to wade through the medical journals. To put it bluntly, I believe this book should be required reading for every couple using or teaching natural family planning. Buy your own copy NOW!

Shannon starts with a basic overview of the rules for good nutrition. There are no real surprises here, but plenty of good reminders of what we all know we should be doing. She follows this with some suggestions for where to go to acquire nutritious food, and even includes her own personal whole-wheat recipe for bread machines. Her dietary recommendations are similar to those we are already familiar with for prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease & digestive disorders.

The real value of this book starts to shine as she outlines specific supplements to add to the diet in order to overcome nutritional deficiencies due to modern farming methods, processing & our own dietary lapses. In addition, groups such as those nursing, pregnant, smokers, elderly, oral contraceptive users, those who exercise vigorously & those with chronic medical conditions, have higher-than-“normal” nutrient requirements. She lists in chart form the vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids to consider as supplements. The chart includes warnings about side effects and maximum doses for safety.

The bulk of rest of the book is divided into chapters dealing with specific reproductive system problems and what nutritional supplements to take for them. There is an extensive appendix covering a few specialized diets or problems, including increasing energy and decreasing stress. To give an idea of the scope of covered material, chapters include premenstrual syndrome, cycle irregularities and infertility, difficult menstruation, vaginal infections, pregnancy, repeated miscarriage and birth defects, pre-menopause, male infertility and prostate, and yeast overgrowth.

I can personally vouch for the effectiveness of her recommendations. I am an NFP user who has lived with “difficult” cycles (prolonged menstruation, irregular cycles with extended patches of fertile mucus, and continuous mucus) for all nineteen years I have been charting my cycles. Just prior to starting the supplements she suggested, I had been experiencing a sixty-day-long bleed. My OB-GYN recommended that I read Shannon’s book. Within two weeks of starting some of the supplements suggested for low thyroid, pre-menopause and yeast problems, the abnormal bleeding, moodiness and extended fertile mucus disappeared. I’ve since had the first regular-length luteal phase in a year. Besides that, I got rid of the persistent yeast infection I had been struggling with since last summer. Anyone for getting rid of their hot flashes? It eliminated those, too! This was no coincidence. Being a brain-dead mother-of-many, I recently forgot my vitamins for a whole week. Back came the yeast and the hot flashes, and now I’m having some irregular bleeding. I’m a believer!
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