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

4.3 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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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

From the Inside Flap

The explosion of scientific research on the connection between nutrition and fertility confirms what Marilyn Shannon has been saying in Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition since 1990. That is, in many cases cycle irregularities can be either eliminated or alleviated simply through better nutrition or body balance. Originally written to help make the practice of Natural Family Planning easier for couples experiencing irregular cycles, this book has proven to be invaluable for anyone looking for improved fertility.

In this completely updated and expanded edition, Shannon first provides practical guidelines for selecting nutritious food, the highest priority for maintaining good health. Next, she systematically explains a host of reproductive problems and identifies the specific nutrition and targeted supplementation that research shows can be used as self-care to overcome such problems or improve fertility.

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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: 6 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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First of all, the book is poorly organized which makes it hard to extract information that applies to specific health issues. Nutrition advice for various health conditions is sprinkled throughout the book in various chapters. She is dedicating very little of this book to the issue of endometriosis (she doesn't seem to have an in-depth knowledge of that subject), so if that's the condition you have, buy a different nutrition book that focuses primarily on that issue.

Finally, as other reviewers mentioned, she is strongly advocating using OptiVite (not a very high quality nutritional supplement). In her defense, she seems to genuinely believe that it can help. She cites scientific evidence behind it (sort of), and how various vitamins and minerals in that supplement affect the fertility cycle. She sounds very convincing, and she mentions examples of women whom this supplement helped to get pregnant. She is defending the fact that this supplement contains HUGE doses of certain vitamins and minerals (often significantly exceeding the recommended daily dose, and often at the maximum level that is considered "safe") by listing the standards of the upper daily limits as if it were perfectly healthy to try to overload your body with a ton of vitamins and minerals all at once at their maximum allowable limit, that are not even food based for better absorption. The problem is, individual people have different needs/deficiencies. For instance, if your selenium level is fine, then taking it at 143% of daily dose for an extended period of time, can cause selenium poisoning especially if you are also getting it from your regular diet. She says that you can decrease the dose (or start with a smaller dose and build your way up) if you experience unpleasant side effects.
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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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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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Natural family planners (NFP users) need a book like this. Most doctors aren't on board with NFP and finding natural alternatives for menstrual issues. I wish is was organized better. A lot of the advice was the same. I think the most important thing is a NFP supportive doctor to meet each woman individual needs. if you can't find one then at least this book will give you some ideas on how to start that conversation with the doctor you have.
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Lots of good information here. I'm an Adele Davis fan, so a lot of this information wasn't new but it was a good review and the author was able to give me some information on areas that I've not encountered in depth reading Davis. A good resource for anyone trying to get her cycle in order, or just wanting to maintain health in general.
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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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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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