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

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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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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 (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 34 people found the following review helpful By mamamia on December 7, 2010
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 K. 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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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Ireland on May 16, 2011
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If you are already pretty well informed about good nutrition, this book is not for you. She goes over what to eat and what not to eat, which for me offered nothing more than I already knew. Recommends optivite pmt supplement, which I tried and made me an angry/horrible/moody person. The basic idea is if you eat healthy and follow a strict diet, you will get pregnant, unless you have a medical condition that nutrition cannot cure. A few chapters in the book cover basic information on a range of fertility problems. The books is also endorsed by a catholic families organization, so each chapter starts with a religious inspirational message. The author is not a doctor, but has dedicated her life to helping people achieve pregnancy through nutrition.
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27 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A. Hosler 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By EMILY F on December 6, 2013
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The information in this book was very useful in understanding women's cycles and how nutrition may help to regulate them. This book is full of suggestions, some of which I implemented into my daily routine. I did not use the vitamins suggested, rather I chose some supplements that I thought were more useful.
There are also several references in the book to help you find more information about specific problems you may be having. Overall, I thought it was well-written and had some great tips and worth the money spent to learn a little more about your body and how adding a few supplements or changing your diet a little can help you a great deal. As with all books that suggest changes, and the author mentions this in the book as well, implement small changes at a time, that way you know what works for you and what doesn't. Good luck in your journey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K.S. on June 8, 2015
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I have cherry picked this book for my own needs and found several of Marilyn Shannon's recommendations to be spot on. The pre-natal vitamins have been a HUGE help in the process of restoring depleted iron supplies in conjunction with taking an iron supplement. Marilyn educated me in understanding the importance of Vitamin A and the necessary dose to achieve my desired results. I am much healthier now. Highly recommend this book. I ordered a copy for my daughter.
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