Fertility and diet: Is there a connection?

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Fertility and diet: Is there a connection?

Here are some headlines about the fertility and diet that interest us:

The highest fertility diet: We reveal what to eat and what to avoid

Here's what to eaten if you're trying to conceive

Trying to get pregnant? Foods to eat and avoided to increase fertility

Wow! Who knows that your choice at tonight's dinner tonight can turn you into a parent? Not so fast - let's see new study that caused all the commotion.

New study on fertility and diet

Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School have just published a review of previous studies that examine the effects of diet on fertility. Here's what they found. Fertility and diet: Is there a connection?

For women who try to conceive naturally (without "assisted reproductive technology" such as in vitro fertilization), the following vitamins and nutrients are related to positive effects on fertility: [19659009] On the other hand, antioxidants , vitamin D, dairy products, soy, caffeine, and alcohol appear to have little or no effect on fertility in this review. Trans fat and "unhealthy diet" (those "rich red and processed meats, potatoes, candy, and sweet drinks") were found to have negative effects. Fertility and diet: Is there a connection?

Male studies have found that semen quality improves with a healthy diet (as described above), whereas the reverse has been linked to a diet high in saturated or trans fats. Alcohol and caffeine seem to have little effect, good or bad. Importantly, the quality of semen is not a perfect fertility predictor, and most studies do not really examine the impact of the father's diet on successful pregnancy rates.

For couples receiving assisted reproductive technology, women may be more likely to become pregnant with folate. acid supplements or high-diet isoflavones (plant-based estrogens with antioxidant activity), while male fertility may be aided by antioxidants. Fertility and diet: Is there a connection?

So what does this mean if you are trying to get pregnant?

Considering the average couple trying to conceive naturally, this review seems to be less of a bomb than news headlines might suggest. Yes, eating healthy food is a good idea for men and women. Extra folic acid, B 12 and omega-3 fatty acids may be useful for women, but a healthy diet is recommended for everyone, and prenatal vitamins (which include folic acid and folic acid) . vitamin B 12 ) is recommended for women who are trying to get pregnant. Folic acid supplementation has long been known to reduce the risk of developmental neurological problems in developing fetuses. Fertility and diet: Is there a connection?

Unanswered questions about diet and fertility

Even if we accept these findings as important enough to direct our dietary choices, we still need to answer some basic questions:

  • How much folic acid or B 12 the best? Is there any benefit to taking supplements rather than relying on food sources?
  • Which source and how many servings of best omega-3 fatty acids diet? How should a woman balance the risk of fish contamination with toxins such as mercury?
  • Does anyone need to pay more attention to these dietary recommendations than others?
  • What about other components from diet? Do not be afraid, researchers work hard to see this question. For example, consider the results of three other recently published studies:
    • The consumption of sugary beverages (especially soda or energy drinks) is associated with lower fertility for men and women, while drinking diet soda and fruit juices has no effect.
    • Women who consumed high amounts of fast food and small fruits took longer to conceive than those who had a healthy diet.
    • Couples who consume more seafood conceive more quickly than those who rarely eat seafood. Most pregnant women consume much less than recommended 2 to 3 servings of fish with low mercury (like salmon, shellfish, and shrimp) per week.

You may be able to ask more questions. Hopefully, the researchers are already busy trying to answer it.

Meanwhile ...

Until we know more, the take-home message from this new study is not so different from before it was published. If you are a man or a woman trying to be a parent, eat a healthy diet. Fertility and diet: Is there a connection?

Many doctors suggest that women of childbearing age who do not use contraceptives take prenatal vitamins daily. At a minimum, women planning a pregnancy should take prenatal vitamins at least a month before trying to conceive. Higher doses of folic acid than usual can be recommended for certain women, depending on the drugs they take and other medical conditions they have. Doctors also recommend the following to maximize the possibility of a healthy pregnancy:

  • Try to maintain a healthy weight before conception. Fatty women have a higher risk of complications.
  • Avoid excessive vitamins before conception. Too much vitamin A, for example, can be bad for a developing fetus.
  • Consider visiting your doctor for a "preconception" visit to review what you can do to optimize your chances of successful pregnancy. For example, certain drugs are harmful to the developing fetus and must be stopped before planning a pregnancy.

And just in case it is unclear, do not rely on research on diet and fertility to prevent pregnancy. Unhealthy diets and avoidance of supplemental vitamins or omega-3 fatty acids are not a form of birth control.

Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling

Fertility and diet: Is there a connection?

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