Expert Q&A with Yolandi Rademeyer
We sat down with Yolandi Rademeyer, who recently joined our sister clinic HART Fertility's team as our Prenatal Dietitian. We asked her to educate us as to why food, nutraceuticals (medical-grade nutrients/supplements), and hormonal health are so crucial for women’s well-being, health, and fertility.
Interestingly enough, nutrition is not Yolandi’s only area of expertise; Yolandi is a Fertility Counselor as well as Birth Doula. Yolandi runs online workshops online, offering expert guidance and support for women throughout the journey from preconception to parenthood.
So, what do you do exactly?
My primary function is women’s health. I look for the root causes of imbalances within the body by examining symptoms and performing functional lab tests. Since the menstrual cycle is known as the fifth vital indication, I focus mostly on the root cause of menstrual issues.
By using basal body temperature (BBT) as a tool to gauge hormonal health, I know exactly what to test for and where to improve hormonal health overall, using food as medicine, as well as nutraceuticals (medical-grade nutrients/ supplements).
Why is BBT so important when it comes to fertility?
Basal body temperature (also known as “natural fertility awareness”) is the act of measuring body temperature every morning at precisely the same time, usually as you wake up, and from there organising the information on a graph.
The first part of a woman’s cycle is when oestrogen is at its peak (this is known as the (follicular phase), which will be the bottommost temperature pattern on the graph.
As soon as ovulation occurs, temperatures will rise and remain elevated (known as the luteal phase), through the rest of the cycle as progesterone is released by the corpus luteum (which is a mass of cells that forms in the ovaries responsible for the production progesterone during early pregnancy.
As soon as our menstrual cycle starts, our temperature falls back to the follicular phase.
I am then able to see note on the graph whether conception has taken place. The reason I can determine this is because temperatures will not drop beyond a certain point after 18 days of being raised, or temperatures could elevate even more, after conception.
So once all temperatures are documented on a graph, it’s simple for me to note which hormones are at an optimal level and where imbalances may be.
Some issues that may occur are as follows:
- A patient may not be ovulating
- The luteal phase may not be sufficient for fertilisation to take place
- There may be a lack of oestrogen (needed to build the uterine lining for implantation)
- There may be oestrogen dominance or progesterone deficiency (needed for implantation)
- A patient might very well be able to conceive yet miscarries very early on in the pregnancy
The myth with ovulation is that it happens mid-cycle, yet this is not accurate. It happens when it happens and could be postponed by many environmental factors.
Menstrual cycles, however, occur 12-16 days AFTER ovulation. So if one can diagnose precisely when they have ovulated, it gives me a much clearer picture of what to expect, which is a lot less stressful than doing multiple pregnancy tests as soon as a woman thinks she may be pregnant.
What lab testing do you do, and why are these important to measure fertility?
There is a myriad of functional lab testing that can be done to assist me with pinpointing the causes of hormonal imbalances. One of the tests available is called the DUTCH test, where we can have a comprehensive look at the sex hormones as well as adrenal glands that are all related to stress.
It depends on the patient, as each person is different and has different hormonal imbalances. If I believe gut health to be a concern, there are stool tests that can be administered. If someone is struggling with adrenal fatigue, which is a massive culprit of hormonal imbalance, we have cortisol kits that can be used at home to test this.
My main goal is to micro-focus on the source of inflammation, so I determine very early on what the real test is to support the body and lower inflammation.
How do micronutrient deficiencies affect women’s fertility?
Every pathway in our bodies requires specific nutrients to occur successfully. I can trace a hormonal or detoxification pathway that’s out of sync, for example, which leads me straight the imbalanced nutrients. Functional medicine is focused on micronutrient levels because this may very well be the root of all issues.
Vitamin D levels in the body is a great example to work with. Vitamin D acts very much like a hormone in many pathways, and if we can see a deficiency, we know how to supplement it correctly.
Another example is Thyroid health. Thyroid health plays a huge role in fertility, and the thyroid is so much more complicated than people understand. The primary function of the thyroid is dependant on micronutrients. The thyroid gland combines tyrosine and iodine to make thyroid hormones.
The list goes on and on; there are so many reasons one can have micronutrient imbalances, all of which impacts on hormonal health.
What are the root causes of inflammation? And, how do we go about healing the gut?
When it comes to fertility, my goal is for both women and men to be at optimal health. There is no specific condition that provides natural fertility.
One very concerning condition that stands between us and optimal health in this day and age is inflammation, an underlying cause of Endometriosis, PCOS, cysts, menstrual pain, etc.
By addressing inflammation, we support the body to heal, something it is naturally is programmed to do, but only if the body is supported with the right resources (nutrients/sleep/detoxification pathways/lower stress hormones).
Stress is one of the leading causes of inflammation (think of “fight or flight”), which causes a considerable amount of imbalance.
Poor gut health is a significant factor that chronically puts stress on the body and causes the release of stress hormones, which in turn causes inflammation and hormonal concerns. This can become a vicious cycle between stress hormones and decreased gut health, such as IBS and anxiety.
I, therefore, often address gut health as the first step to lower inflammation and then use this as a foundation to address hormonal imbalances.
How long are your workshops, and are they virtual?
I have many different workshops; some are a couple of hours, such as my webinars on “Thyroid Health” or “Healing Menstrual Pain.” Others, like my “Virtual Gut Healing” workshop or “Learning how to use BBT” online, are anything from 5 weeks to 3 months.
How can our patients sign up?
My practice is virtual. Everything is done online if I am not able to see you in person.
To find out about Yolandi’s future workshops/webinars/ virtual programs, make sure you follow her on Facebook