fertility diet
Fertility diet

Fertility Diet

  The role of fertility diet is exaggerated at times.  There has been a constant search for fertility diet among couples struggling to conceive. Hence, you may easily get deceived by such articles that hype the so-called fertility food. Supplements of all kinds are advertised for infertile couples. Be aware of such misleading information. There is nothing called fertility food but a healthy diet will help you. In other way, if you adhere to healthy diet you will benefit in many ways.

What are the elements in fertility diet?

Supplemental folic acid

 Folic acid is a vitamin that is essential for pregnant women. At slightly higher dose it prevents neural tube defects in baby. Regular intake of this vitamin is related to lower frequency of infertility. Folic acid helps lower risk of pregnancy loss and greater success in infertility treatment.

Vitamin D

The deficiency of vitamin is frequently noted in patients of fertility clinics. Serum vitamin D concentration is lower in PCOS patients.The supplementation with vitamin D in PCOS treatment improves insulin resistance. Vitamin D have direct effect on AMH production. Hence, it helps women with poor ovarian reserve. Male infertility patients also benefit from vitamin D supplement.

However, Vitamin D does not appear to exert an important role in human fertility in the absence of deficiency. It enhances results of infertility treatment when given to correct deficiency.

Antioxidant supplementation

Antioxidant supplementation does not appear to offer any benefits to women undergoing infertility treatment. But it appears to be beneficial when it is given to the male partner. Antioxidants are thought to reduce the oxidative stress and improve quality of eggs and sperm in IVF treatment.

Long chain omega 3 fatty acids

Long chain omega 3 fatty acids appear to improve female fertility. However, contamination with environmental toxicants can dampen this benefit. Women after 40 years have extremely poor outcome with both natural and assisted fertility. Omega-3 fatty acids may help delaying ovarian aging and improving oocyte quality at advanced maternal age. Women with higher serum levels of omega 3 fatty acids have higher IVF success among women undergoing ART.

Can egg quality be improved?

Poorer diet quality as well as obesity, both are risk factor for infertility. A healthy well-balanced lifestyle can improve the fertility efficiency.

Follow these tips to improve egg quality:

Start the day with healthy fruit juices

Freshly prepared fruit juices without extra sugar are ideal for a healthy lifestyle. Water content of juice hydrates you. It also gives the benefits of antioxidants.

Reduce daily driving time

Too much driving could be linked to infertility in men. In the other way, walking for the daily needs is healthy and energizing. Driving may not be good pregnant women too.

Avoid junk food

Fast food consumers are at slightly higher risk of having fertility problems. Food high in saturated and trans fats, sugars and salt are known to cause ovulatory disorders.

Inhale fresh air & avoid pollution

Air pollutants are endocrine disruptors and affects female infertility. Live birth after in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures is better after reducing oxidative stress. Also, first trimester miscarriage, stillbirths, infertility, number of oocytes and embryo retrieved are correlated to air pollutant exposure.

Follow healthy lunch ideas

 Eating plenty of protein helps reduces hunger. Your lunch should contain lot of vegetables and fruits for a quick meal and low calory diet.

Defend body with enough antioxidants

Women undergoing fertility treatment often take dietary supplements, including antioxidants. Antioxidants can improve egg quality and make your cycles more regular. Hence, always include antioxidants like green tea and fruits in your fertility diet.

Learn stress management at home and workplace

The inability to reproduce naturally can cause feelings of shame, guilt, and low self-esteem. Moreover, couples struggling to conceive are at risk of experiencing psychiatric disorders.

Maintain a healthy relationship

Infertility can affect relationship and foundation of a marriage. Marital relationship in infertility is important and is essential for continuing treatment.

Avoid smoking

 Smoking is proved to have deleterious effect on fertility treatment. It is better to avoid smoking to increase quality of sperm. During pregnancy complications like miscarriages are more in women who continue smoking.

Reduce alcohol –

the evidence of a potentially deleterious effect of moderate alcohol and caffeine intake on the ability to become pregnant seems less solid than it once did.

Have a deep uninterrupted sleep

Sleep has positive effect on hormone status of women. For regular ovulation you must get enough sleep.

Indulge in creativity

Infertility can create conflict and tension among couples. Keeping yourself engaged in creative activities can inspire you and build a healthy relationship.

Nutrition counseling before fertility treatment

Nutrition, and obesity counselling is the central in fertility treatment at Femelife Fertility. According to the Medical Director of Femelife Dr Nabaneeta Padhy, having a BMI > 30 kg/m2 reduce chance of conception. Various aspects of nutrition contribute to infertility. Hence, obesity assessment, weight loss method, referring their patients to a nutritionist is routinely done at the best fertility centre like Femelife Fertility.

Healthy diet provides a similar magnitude of benefit on fertility regardless of BMI status. Thus, weight-loss or nutritional advice to all individuals accessing infertility treatment is mandatory. Awareness and information about BMI and proper nutrition is of foremost importance in fertility counselling. Fertility diets are advised in these clinical settings.

What is the role of Dairy and soy in fertility diet?

Once high fat diary and soy were thought to be reproductive toxicants. But recently they have not been consistently related to poor fertility. In fact, soy and soy supplements appear to exert a beneficial effect among women undergoing infertility treatment. In contrast, many fertility specialists include soy in a fertility diet.

What is the psychological impact of fertility diet?

Following a healthy diet is always essential for wellbeing. Binge eating is a sign of depression and found in many females with PCOS. Certain dietary patterns like Mediterranean diet have been shown to protect against psychological disturbances. Low consumption of vitamins like folic acid is a risk factor for subfertility and depression. Hence, consume 400 μg of folic acid per day, to lower the risk of infertility outcomes. A well-balanced fertility diet contains all the essential nutrients.

Is fish included in fertility diet?

Fish high in omega-3 fatty acid content are generally recommended as part of a healthy diet.  Nonetheless, omega-3 fatty acid intake these groups is recommended as part of a healthy fertility diet. But there is potential for environmental contamination from mercury and other toxins in some specific type of fish.

What is the relation of socioeconomic status to fertility diet?

Lower income or lower educational attainment experience a higher occurrence of infertility. Those societies having lower education tend to have poorer diet quality. Higher prevalence of obesity is also a risk factor for infertility. Deficient food intake result in loss of both body weight and physical performance. Delayed puberty is seen young women with deficient diet. Strong dietary restrictions lower gonadotropin secretion levels. This in turn reduce physiological ovarian function and increase infertility. Poor intake of proteins, micro and macro-minerals and vitamins is associated with reduction in reproductive performance. As a result, reduced ovulatory maturation in women is seen with low socioeconomic status. Awareness and information can increase the use of fertility diet among all communities.

Overweight and Obesity

Overweight and obesity are seen in up to 20–25% female infertility. Among infertile woman obesity is common in industrialized countries. It causes insulin resistance (IR) which is responsible for ovulatory disorders. It is also associated with higher risk of miscarriages and infertility. Management of anovulation in obese women includes following a fertility diet and exercise.

How can I improve my egg quality for IVF?

Before IVF treatment many fertility centres give supplemental nutrition and advice for lifestyle changes. Following fertility diet can improve egg and sperm quality and increase IVF success. Healthy diet aimed at maintaining normal body mass is effective in the preservation of ovarian health and physiology. Furthermore, this prevents oxidative injury to eggs and sperm. Appropriate intake of proteins, vitamins, antioxidants and may decrease the effects of toxic oxidants.

What causes poor egg quality?

Lifestyle:

Besides aging, a number of non-modifiable lifestyle-related factors, such as smoking, elevated consumption of caffeine and alcohol, stress, agonist sports, chronic exposure to environmental pollutants, and other nutritional habits exert a negative impact on a women’s fertility.

Medical Diseases:

Metabolic disorders including diabetes, obesity, and hyperlipidaemia commonly associated to hypercaloric diets. These are suspected to affect a woman’s fertility either by direct damage to oocyte health and differentiation. They also can interference with the pituitary-hypothalamic axis, resulting in decreased function of ovary.

Obesity:

Obese women show decreased insulin sensitivity determining persistent hyperinsulinemia, which may be involved in the pathogenesis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Following a fertility diet is recommended in these population.

Endometriosis:

Up to 30% to 50% of women with endometriosis may experience infertility. Women with severe (Stage 4) endometriosis will require IVF treatment due to blockage of fallopian tubes.

Pelvic surgery:

Previous pelvic surgery reduces ovarian reserve and may cause infertility. At times following a surgery infection can block the fallopian tubes.

How lifestyle factors can influence fertility?

Lifestyle factors and environmental conditions such as stressful jobs, unbalanced nutrition and unhealthy diet concur to interfere with fertility in both women and men. Therefore, abnormal body weight can lead to problems like PCOS. With dietary enrichment in carbohydrates, fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals many couples can conceive. Fertility diet has a positive effect on both ovulatory function and normal spermatogenesis. Several nutrients of major diets also affect the implantation of a normal embryo.

What is Mediterranean Diet?

The Med Diet is a healthy eating plan inspired by the populations of Greece, Southern Italy, and Spain. The main features of this diet are high number of legumes, vegetables and fruits. Also, olive oil, unrefined cereals, moderate to high consumption of fish, wine and low intake of meat are some of the features. The efficacy of the Med Diet in preserving the female reproductive health is already proved.

Following a fertility diet for 6 weeks has a favourable effect on developing oocytes and sperms, or for embryo implantation.

Antioxidants and Infertility

Adequate intake of antioxidants supports female reproductive functions. The dietary supplements containing folic acid, β-carotene, Vitamin C and E, and an adequate nutritional support in shortening the time to conception. Micronutrient supplementation can enhance the reproductive environment by helping restore micronutrients. Vitamins taken in adequate amount strengthen the antioxidant defence system. In other words, they reduce oxidative stress in females. This in turn improves oocyte and embryo quality. Taking vitamins with a fertility diet reduces the time to conception, and increases the chances of becoming pregnant.

What vitamins improve egg quality?

Supplementation with micronutrients like vitamins and minerals is a good strategy if you are trying to conceive. Healthy women trying to conceive and in those with fertility problems fertility diet is highly recommended.

Vitamin D levels is associated with a greater chance of clinical pregnancy after fertility treatment. Micronutrients like folate, vitamins B6 and B12, vitamin D, antioxidants also have a positive effect on various aspects of fertility. Antioxidants such as vitamins C, E, and A help defend against oxidants. Micronutrients like folate, zinc are involved as antioxidant which counteract the effects of ROS. Folate, vitamins B6, B12, and D, and iron all have roles in some mechanisms that could affect fertility.

Which fruits are good for fertility?

Mediterranean dietary pattern, which includes a higher intake of fruits, vegetables and fish is seen to improve fertility. Couples consulting a physician for difficulties conceiving are often advised a fertility diet. Fruits and vegetables contain a range of antioxidants and phytochemicals, and these may beneficially impact fertility. Higher intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with increased sperm motility whereas a higher intake of fat-rich foods and sweets may decrease semen quality.

Citrus fruits like lemon, oranges contain high amount of vitamin C and are preferable. Fruits are generally with low glycaemic index and hence considered healthy.

Does folic acid improve egg quality?

Supplementation with folic acid, or multivitamins containing folic acid, has been associated to better embryo quality. It improves chances of pregnancy and reduced risk of ovulatory infertility.

How do I test my egg quality?

A woman’s ovarian reserve refers to the quality and quantity of her eggs which decides her reproductive potential. Ovarian reserve plays a crucial role in achieving pregnancy following any fertility treatment in infertility. Ovarian reserve test is used to determine the capacity of the ovary to provide egg cells that are capable of fertilization resulting in a healthy and successful pregnancy. As part of a fertility evaluation, ovarian reserve tests check FSH, oestradiol, anti-Mullerian hormone and ovarian antral follicle count levels. The level of AMH in a woman’s blood is generally a good indicator of her ovarian reserve.

Does sugar affect egg quality?

Saturated fats and sugar have been associated with poorer fertility outcomes in women and men. It is suggested that high consumption of sugar is associated with lower semen quality and increased infertility among men, and women. Sugary beverages and refined sugars are better avoided in couples trying to conceive.

Dietary factors, including sugar-sweetened beverages, have adverse effects on fertility. Sugar-sweetened beverages have been associated with poor semen quality in cross-sectional studies. Similarly, sweetened soda intake has been associated with lower fertility in women. Whereas, Diet soda had little association with fecundability.

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