We are really interested to talk to natural fertility expert, Jolanta Borkowska, GPhC, dipION, mBANT, mCNHC, aka The Holistic Pharmacist. She has helped so many couples fulfill their dream of having a baby. In this blog she shares useful advice about lifestyle changes which can make a big difference.
Can you tell us a bit about The Holistic Pharmacist and why you set it up?
After graduating as a Pharmacist in 1990, I had a very successful career, but as the years progressed I became interested in a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing and also spent some time working at Weleda UK.
It wasn’t until I had my own fertility struggles and then the debilitating symptoms of an early menopause that I experienced the power of personalized nutrition and lifestyle medicine. I then decided to study clinical nutrition and on qualifying I left pharmacy and set up my online practice called The Holistic Pharmacist.
Why are you so passionate about helping couples to conceive?
My own journey to motherhood took many years of heartache and intense longing that shadowed every aspect of my life.
As a pharmacist I thought I was doing all the right things (such as eating a “healthy” diet), but nothing was working. I read all the books, saw various therapists, and took various supplements.
It wasn’t till I started to delve into the science of clinical nutrition and lifestyle medicine that I discovered fertility nutrition is very specific to each and every woman – a food classed as “fertility boosting” may be good for one woman but may cause problems for another woman.
My dream of motherhood did eventually come true and I now have an adorable son.
It is now my mission to help other women avoid the pain, struggle and overwhelm I went through and to offer them a practical and comprehensive fertility plan specific for their body and to help bring longed for healthy babies into the world.
Do you have any statistics about fertility rates in the UK?
In the UK as many as 1 in 6 couples experience the devastation and pain of infertility.
On the topic of male fertility – sperm counts have dropped by more than half in Western countries over the past few decades, while abnormalities in men’s reproductive systems are on the rise and the quality of sperm has also deteriorated. Evidence is now showing us that pollution, the use of plastics and nutrient-poor diets play a significant role in male infertility.
The average age of first-time mothers in the UK is around 29 -30 years. As a woman’s fertility can decline from her mid-30s, many scientists urge women not to delay starting a family in order to avoid a raft of age-related complications.
However, I have seen many women over 35 get pregnant naturally and go on to deliver healthy babies by making small changes to their diet and lifestyle which enhanced their fertility.
Who can you help and what areas do you cover in your fertility programmes?
I help women wherever they are in their fertility journey – whether they are struggling to conceive naturally or if they have chosen to use IVF. They may have been diagnosed with PCOS or Endometriosis or as is very common, the doctors have told them they have unexplained infertility. I also work with men to improve the quality of their sperm and restore fertility.
In my experience, clients who can commit to working with me for 3 months achieve the best results. The reason for this is that it takes around 3 months for an egg (and sperm) to develop and mature.
My fertility programme involves an initial in-depth consultation after which a client will receive a personalized Fertility Plan – including nutrition, lifestyle (sleep, stress management, exercise and environment) and supplement recommendations. During the 3 month programme these recommendations are continually assessed and monitored. Many women come to me having already purchased an array of supplements but I find that their bodies are just not absorbing these supplements – so I focus on strengthening gut function and supporting the liver first and foremost, and then I layer in functional foods and supplements to boost their fertility.
I also work with clients who are already pregnant and seek personal advice to maintain a healthy pregnancy and support their baby’s health.
Lastly, we know that you recommend Greenscents products to your clients. Can you explain why it is an important part of your fertility advice?
Both female and male fertility can be at particular risk from certain chemicals found in many everyday cleaning products and laundry detergents. These chemicals have a negative impact on both oestrogen and testosterone and affect not only egg and sperm quality but also embryo implantation and foetal development.
The main offenders are phthalates (found in many cleaning products) and parabens (which may be listed as “fragrance”).
I therefore recommend Greenscents cleaning and laundry products to my clients as these products do not contain any synthetic or artificial perfumes, parabens or phthalates – hence my clients are reassured that they are using effective cleaning products that will not negatively impact their fertility.