Posted: 04/02/2016

Can Diet Improve Fertility?

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Women who are undergoing fertility treatments may increase the likelihood of pregnancy if they consume a specialized diet rich in proteins according to new research presented at the Annual Clinical Meeting of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

According to the National Infertility Association, 30% of fertility problems can be linked back to male factors, 30% to women, and around 20% of unexplained factors that make up cases of infertility. The research study conducted by Jeffrey B. Russell, MD, at the Delaware Institute for Reproductive Medicine (DIRM) in Newark, revealed that women who consume high protein diets with minimal carbs are more likely to produce healthy embryos.  

Protein Rich Diets & Fertility
Researchers during the study monitored the health of 120 women who were undergoing assisted reproduction therapy (ART) in vitro fertilization (IVF). Throughout this period, women were asked to keep a comprehensive food log that detailed the types of meals consumed every day. Upon evaluating the data, researchers revealed that out of the 120 women, 48 had an average daily protein intake greater than 25%, while the remaining participants had an average of less than 25%. Researchers added that there were no significant differences in body mass index in either group.

Protein Rich Foods
Through further analysis, women who were undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) were examined at the 5-day stage of blastocysts, the beginning phase of embryo development. Researchers revealed that 54.3% of patients with a protein intake of 25% or greater had blastocysts formations vs. 38% in those with lower than 25% protein intake. The pregnancy rate among those with a higher protein intake also improved at 66% vs. 31% with those who consumed less protein. Other data components revealed that women who were eating a diet comprised of 60% carbs and 10% or less had poor quality embryos, making them more susceptible to miscarriages.

Recommendations for Infertile Women
The results of the study may help doctors set dietary guideless for women undergoing fertility treatments. After the results of the study, Dr. Russell now requires his patients to eat 25% to 35% protein, and consume 40% or less carbs for three months before beginning in vitro fertilization.

Along with a diet rich in protein, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urge women who are trying to conceive to take a minimum of 400 mcg of folic acid everyday at least one month before getting pregnant to prevent major birth defects of the brain and spine. 

By HelpRx Staff Writer

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