Part of the reason I decided to specialize in women's health and fertility is - ironically - because of a man named Francis M. Pottenger. A physician during the earlier part of the 20th century, he studied respiratory diseases and dispensed supplements of adrenal cortex to his patients. He researched extensively with cats, and noticed that most cats did not do so well when he performed adrenalectomies - but some recovered beautifully. The cats that did well were the cats that consumed raw meat, raw milk and cod liver oil.
What has this to do with fertility, you ask?
Pottenger continued his research with a controlled study. He divided the cats into groups: the control group ate a typical/natural cat diet of raw meat and raw milk. The other groups received varying combinations of meals that included cooked meat, pasteurized milk, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk.
As predicted, the control group did well, acting and developing as cats should. The other groups suffered a bit, becoming lethargic, anti-social, and (upon autopsy after death) had organs that seemed to suffer. But this is not where the study ended.
The next generation of cats from these groups showed an even further degeneration present immediately upon birth. Abnormal jaw and face formation, scanty fur, abundance of parasites, loss of typical cat behavior such as nimbleness (cats could not often land without falling, due to weakened muscles and ligaments), and extreme anti-social behavior and aggressiveness. They died earlier, and autopsies revealed bloated livers and poorly toned organs. The third generation of cats were even worse off.
And all the while, the control group of cats and their subsequent generations were thriving.
But now this is where things get interesting: those in the groups that were worst off stopped procreating altogether by the third generation. They could not, and would not. Pottenger realized that the effects of a poor diet were intensified in offspring and ongoing generations, moreso than the first generation consuming a poor diet.
This is HUGE.
Think of it as a snowball effect. And think of your grandmother Dorothy who constantly remarks about how she doesn't understand all these allergies that kids have, because "when we were children, we all ate gluten just fine!" Here's your answer, Grandma D - and it's kinda sorta your fault.
The study does not imply that we must eat solely raw milk and meat (though, especially regarding the former, raw foods certainly contain a great amount of enzymes, which helps digest foods and process nutrients). But it does make abundantly clear that without a proper diet relative to your species, your species will decline. This is happening to us, to humans. This is why, in a nutshell, we are currently seeing children becoming sicker and sicker - if we're even able to become pregnant at all. Infertility is increasingly becoming a huge issue.
And this is why I am utterly impassioned to make sure women and men get healthy prior to becoming pregnant. It matters, greatly. Pottenger continued his research with trying to reverse the damage done, and concluded that the cats could heal - in four generation's time. Daunting, but there's hope. And it's a simple solution, in the grand scheme of things: eat real food. Eat good food. Food full of natural enzymes and chock full of nutrients, food in their whole form, food from the earth. Food that your great-great grandparents would have recognized and eaten, prior to the advent of industrial and chemical food systems. It's the best start for our children.