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Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition 4th Edition Perfect Paperback – April 15, 2009

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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Couple to Couple League; 4th edition (April 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0926412345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0926412347
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Marilyn Shannon, author of Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition, knew her popular book was due for an update. But even she was surprised by the explosion of research in this area since her last edition in 2001.

"I was amazed when I did the literature search," Shannon says. "I knew there had been an increase in research on nutrition for fertility, but my search results far exceeded my expectations." Shannon began her research by whittling down over 900 journal article citations specifically related to her topics, to 500 abstracts, and then to 300 full articles, many of which are cited in the reference pages of the new book.

The result is a completely revised and expanded 4th edition of Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition: Self-care for improved cycles and fertility...naturally!. Based on her experience both as an instructor of human anatomy and physiology at Indiana University Purdue University at Fort Wayne, Indiana, and over 25 years as a Natural Family Planning (NFP) teacher, Shannon is convinced that in most cases, self-care for better fertility is the best place to start.

A mainstay originally for couples practicing NFP, Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition has helped thousands of women over the years to improve their fertility cycles, often either making the practice of NFP easier, relieving cycle irregularities, or helping them to achieve a much-desired pregnancy.

While the new 4th edition does not really conflict with the old, it goes far beyond previous editions.

"There are many new options for basic topics like PMS (premenstrual syndrome), short luteal phase, or heavy bleeding," Shannon explains. "This edition also provides more explanations of the 'why and how' behind various topics, such as why exercise builds bone, how insulin levels relate to PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), how light affects the fertility cycle, or how flax oil differs from fish oil."

The new Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition still recommends first improving the diet, with an emphasis on plenty of whole, unrefined foods. Yet it also acknowledges that flexibility is important, as what is best for one person might not be what is best for another. For instance, Shannon recommends both animal and plant protein sources, but is flexible as to how much and what kinds. Her recommendations for fats and oils have strengthened the emphasis on animal fats, and she now recommends fish oil as well as flax oil.

Part II moves into targeted advice for supplements aimed at improving specific cycle irregularities such as PMS, painful or heavy periods, PCOS, infertility, repeated miscarriage, etc. While new research still supports Shannon's longstanding recommendation of the vitamin Optivite PMT for many cycle irregularities, she also now endorses ProCycle PMT and Fertility Blend for overcoming certain problems or trying to achieve pregnancy. The new edition also has expanded information on nutrition during pregnancy, age-related infertility, preventing birth defects, celiac disease, low sexual desire, and male fertility-- including the importance of antioxidants for men -- and much more.

Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition is unique in that it covers the gamut of nutrition to improve the cycle for women who are not seeking pregnancy, for women who are using Natural Family Planning, as well as for women -- and couples -- who are trying to overcome infertility. --The Couple to Couple League

About the Author

Marilyn McCusker Shannon holds a master s degree in human physiology with a minor in biochemistry from Indiana University s Medical Sciences Program. She is a tenured, part time instructor of biology at Indiana University Purdue University at Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she has taught human anatomy and physiology for the last 25 years.

Marilyn and her husband Ron have been a Teaching Couple for the Couple to Couple League for Natural Family Planning (NFP) since 1982. Her interest in the impact of nutrition on reproductive health is an outgrowth of her educational background and her experience as an NFP instructor. She has written many articles on nutrition and fertility for the Couple to Couple League's magazine, Family Foundations, and has spoken widely on this topic. She was awarded the Couple to Couple League's Edward M. Keefe, M.D. Award for the Scientific Advancement of Natural Family Planning following the first edition of Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition.

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Customer Reviews

This book is packed FULL of great nutritional information!
Handmaid Mama
Great advice for helping the menstrual cycle through diet, nutrition, and vitamin supplements.
I bought this book because of the recommendation by the folks at NFP.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By mamamia on December 7, 2010
Format: Perfect Paperback
I think this is one of the best books on women's health and fertility-related issues out there. Every midwife should read this. But why only four stars? The author promotes the consumption of canola oil, which is not a "healthy" oil. Also the recommended level for vitamin D (400-1000 IU)fall way below what it should be for most people. I was also a bit leery about the author's recommendations for flax seed oil. Although this oil undoubtedly has many benefits, there are also many downfalls as well. For instance, those following a WAP diet may be interested to know that flax seed contains a large amount of phytic acid, which inhibits the absorption of minerals. Although written from a more vitamin and basic nutrition standpoint, I hope any future additions would contain more research on how herbs can help many women's problems (for instance, many issues can be helped simply by working on liver health with herbs such as stinging nettle) and also more research on/references to the soaking of whole grains to reduce phytic acid.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By brooke kirkeide on December 19, 2012
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I guess I had higher expectations. I was hoping to get a little more guidance on which supplements balance you depending on which end of the spectrum your hormones lay. Instead it tells you how to have a balanced diet and pushing a priopriety blend supplement.
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22 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A. Anderson on November 10, 2009
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This review is written from the perspective of one who wants to boost fertility--not one who necessarily doesn't support the use of contraceptives (that's an entirely different debate!). I'm also fairly well-versed in fertility issues, cycle irregularities, and charting. I'm by no means an expert.

I had high hopes for this book, and I'm sure it's an excellent resource for those unfamiliar with NFP and fertility overall. In the end, however, it's only just okay for one trying to conceive. There are a plethora of other books that I feel do a better job of this (TCOYF, for instance).

I was also disappointed by her approach to vegan diets, though I realize that isn't the purpose of this book. I'm not vegan, but have done a tremendous amount of research (professionally) regarding healthy diet and nutrition. Vegan and vegetarian diets can most certainly be healthy; counseling a mother to convince her daughter to change her lifestyle rather than help her make wise choices doesn't sit well. I was also surprised given her support of The Fertility Diet which encourages a plant-based diet to help boost fertility (though this is based on the NHS and controversial).

Lastly, I wish I'd known this book took more of a religious stance and included scriptures. I knew it was a good resource for NFP, but Christians aren't the only people who practice NFP.

All in all, my disagreement with her approach to veg*n living, inclusion of scriptures, and other minor issues really shouldn't influence my overall review--they have little to do with the basic information provided in this book! Once again, it's a good starting resource, but not the best for one who already knows a bit about TTC. It also didn't provide an accurate cause for my cycle irregularities, though it did provide several explanations for those of others. Not entirely complete, but a good start.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Handmaid Mama on July 9, 2009
Format: Perfect Paperback
This book is packed FULL of great nutritional information! AND it is helpful to how women feel and how to make their cycles as best as they can be :) I LOVE it so far (I'm more than half way through) and gifted a copy to both of my sisters-in-law. I have learned so much about a woman's cycle, nutrition, supplements, why my cycle behaves in certain ways, and how I can make those "problems" better. I'm loving it! It is a resource book that I will keep reading over and over to better educate myself. I'm excited to share the info with friends, family and my daughters as they grow up! I don't have any negative comments... I only wish there was a short class I could take or an opportunity to meet with the author to ask questions or get personal advice! She is a wealth of knowledge! This is definitely worth every penny.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Meyer on March 6, 2013
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I bought this book because my NFP instructor suggested it, and it has completely changed the way my husband and I look at food and dietary supplements. I never really approved of the "hippie" stuff, but now that I understand what my body needs, I make my own multi-grain bread, eat fresh salad every night, drink tea instead of coffee or pop, and take multiple health-store vitamins daily. I feel really great, mentally and physically, and I just wish everyone knew what I've learned from this book! I'm lending it to multiple friends. Her advice is straight-forward and easy to follow, with a chart you can print for your fridge with your food goals for the day and a comprehensive list of vitamin suggestions. She has advice for women who are trying to avoid pregnancy, trying to conceive, pregnant, breastfeeding, and raising children. I appreciate her advice about where to shop for good food, too, and I bought a cookbook she recommended. The style of the book is fun and easy to read, and she cites references and studies for everything.

Make sure you double-check the advice with a more current source, because a couple of her recommendations are not favored anymore. Overall, wonderful read! I will always use it as a reference.
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