This is a subject that gets a lot of medical attention but scant nutritional attention. I hope to shed some light on a situation that you may be facing, whether you are trying to conceive or you want to enjoy your sex life more.

Our bodies produce a wonderfully lubricating mucous in a variety of places; it serves to keep our eyes, skin, nasal passages, lungs, and digestive tracts from getting dried out, and keeps germs for gaining a foothold into these surfaces, surfaces that are continuously exposed to the outside world. Oh, and just as importantly, it keeps our “reproductive canal” nice and moist. Healthy mucous clearly is something we want to encourage for all of these important reasons.

If we want to get pregnant, we especially want to optimize the quality and quantity of cervical mucous (some call it “fluid”), fundamental to supporting our natural fertility. If we are dealing with menopausal vaginal dryness, we don’t want to make it worse because we are not giving our bodies what we need to produce as much mucous as our hormones allow.

Proper nutrition, adequate hydration, and balanced hormones all play a part in ensuring we are optimizing mucous production. As a nutritionist, I want to tell you about a vitamin most of us don’t get enough of that is absolutely essential for mucous production. That is vitamin A.

No, not vitamin A from carrots and sweet potatoes. While those are healthy foods I love and encourage my clients to eat, for most women, they won’t help reverse things like dry eyes, dry bumpy skin, or a dry cervix or vagina. To address that, real vitamin A is best. The kind you get from liver, cod liver oil, and deep orange egg yolks (and fish eyes if you are so inclined!). These foods long removed from our menus are the very fertility foods that un-modernized societies valued for healthy reproductive function.

If you feel the thought of eating liver is too much to consider, try this recipe for chicken liver pate – http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1012954-creamy-chicken-liver-pate, you may actually like it and best of all, it is super healthy for you and your mucous.

(Interestingly, in my research for this article I came across a patent for the use retinoic acid, a form of vitamin A, inter-vaginally to effectively address postmenopausal dryness. I also learned there was a clinical study which showed a beneficial effect on the bacterial vaginosis among pregnant women, thought to be due to enhancement of the vaginal surface barrier – Christian P,  et al. Maternal vitamin A and beta-carotene supplementation and risk of bacterial vaginosis…Am J Clin Nutr 2011;6: 1643.)