What is AMH?
AMH, or anti-mullerian hormone is a hormone made by the small follicles in your ovary which have not yet begun to develop into mature eggs. A low AMH reading indicates you probably have a reduced egg count. Less eggs may mean it’s harder to conceive, although, it’s important to remember you only need one healthy egg to get pregnant!
It’s also important to note that if you have PCOS, (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome), you may, but not always, have higher than normal egg count and AMH levels. However, the following strategies still seem to be beneficial for most women with PCOS.
1. Vitamin D
Studies pretty consistently show that women with low vitamin D levels have lower AMH levels than women with healthy vitamin D levels. It seems that vitamin D plays a key role in egg survival and growth. Some foods, like salmon and eggs, contain a small amount of vitamin D, but most of our vitamin D comes from the sun. On average we need 10 minutes of direct sunlight or 30 minutes outdoors on a cloudy day to meet our vitamin D requirements, so find a way to get outdoors each day, and if you haven’t done so in a few years, it might be a good idea to get your vitamin D levels checked by your doctor.
2. Losing weight can help
If you are overweight, losing weight can help. Now I know that this is easier said than done, but do the best you can…. particularly if you’re about to undergo an expensive IVF cycle. However, it’s also important to note that it’s important to lose weight in a healthy way. Studies seem to indicate that even when women have significant weight loss, if they don’t have a nutritious diet, it doesn’t necessarily increase their egg count or AMH levels, in comparison to when they lose weight and still meet all of their nutrition requirements.
If you need additional support, look for programs that don’t eliminate whole food groups and encourage gradual weight loss at 0.5kg -1kg a week such as the Jenny Craig program.
3. Regular exercise
Make sure you are doing regular exercise. Although this strategy only seems to be helpful for women who are overweight or who have PCOS. So, the next question is how much exercise do you actually need to do to see a result? Well, there’s not enough research to answer that question definitively, but one study got women to do a 45 minute walk three times per week for 12 weeks, and saw some great results! So, try starting there.