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Expert reveals the domino effect of stress and abnormal sleep on male and female fertility

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  • Australia’s top Fertility expert Leah Hechtman ND addressed the negative impact of stress and circadian disruption on male and female reproductive function
  • Environmental disruption of the body’s molecular clock is linked to reproductive dysfunction and subfertility
  • Science of key antioxidant Ubiquinol under spotlight

There is a correlation between abnormal sleep and stress and decreased male and female fertility, said one of Australia’s leading fertility experts in her keynote, The Domino Effect —Conception and the Endocrine System, delivered today at the BioCeuticals Symposium 2021.

Themed Enhancing Mental Wellbeing: Navigating Modern-Day Life, the symposium saw Hechtman outlining the impact of stress and circadian disruption on fertility, focusing on the influence of stress and abnormal sleep on mitochondrial function and endocrine health.

“Abnormal sleep is associated with erectile dysfunction, low testosterone and reduced fecundity and sperm count in males. In women, abnormal sleep — especially shift work — has been shown to alter menstrual cycles, increasing the risk of endometriosis, early menopause, reduced birth rate, increased preterm birth and miscarriage”, said Hechtman.

Delivering her address to hundreds of health practitioners and delegates, Hechtman, a globally renowned expert in fertility, functional and nutritional medicine, also addressed the negative influence of stress on male and female fertility.

“Chronic stress in males decreases testosterone and alters spermatogenesis; affects erectile function and can cause ejaculatory problems. Stress in women delays or inhibits the LH surge required for ovulation, increasing the risk of anovulation, and creating an unfavourable environment for implantation,” said Hechtman.

Recent studies showing the effect of mitochondrial dysfunction on nervous system, immune and endocrine health has highlighted the importance of stress pathophysiology on mitochondrial function and its potential influence on fertility.

“All types of stress impacts mitochondrial health and viability. Acute stress increases mitochondrial biogenesis and chronic stress decreases mitochondria biogenesis and creates systemic recalibrations in the mitochondria,” said Hechtman.

“Ubiquinol, the active form of CoQ10, is the primary antioxidant in the body that supports mitochondrial energy production. Ubiquinol plays a key role in helping to fight ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species), supports healthy blood vessel formation, autonomic nervous system function and promotes mitochondria biogenesis,” she said.

“Studies show that ubiquinol assists in supporting mitochondrial optimisation, supporting sperm density (count), motility and morphology,” said Hechtman.

“Regarding female fertility, the female egg is one of the largest cells in the human body and has the highest concentration of mitochondria. The oocyte needs a vast supply of energy after fertilisation to support spindle formation, chromatid separation, and cell division. Nutrients that support mitochondrial energy through ATP production, such as Ubiquinol, may help support mitochondrial health,” she said.

The symposium hosts global key opinion leaders in integrative medicine and mental health, including Dr Ron Ehrlich, Professor Kerryn Phelps, Dr Austin Perlmutter and Professor Julia Rucklidge among others.

To learn more about the BioCeuticals Symposium, please visit

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