5 Tips To Boost Fertility
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder affecting 5 - 10% of reproductive age women and it is a leading cause of infertility. There is no cure for PCOS, however, there are certain dietary and lifestyle changes that can help improve fertility and pregnancy rates.
Studies show women who are overweight and suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are able to improve their chances of becoming pregnant through losing weight.
A randomised open-label study of 149 overweight women with PCOS was conducted to examine the differences in pregnancy outcomes. The three groups were; women with PCOS either took birth control pills, underwent lifestyle modification or a combination of the two interventions for a four-month period.
The results of the study showed, among the 49 women assigned to the birth control intervention, five gave birth. Of the 50 women in the lifestyle intervention group, 13 delivered babies. Twelve of the 50 women in the combination group gave birth.
Women in the lifestyle modification intervention and birth control pills group were more likely to ovulate than women who were assigned to take birth control pills.
Along with an improvement in pregnancy rates, the women in the lifestyle modification group were also able to lower their insulin and triglyceride levels, two health risk factors associated with PCOS.
Weight loss and lifestyle modifications are key to improving rates of fertility in women with PCOS. Oral contraceptives alone may be detrimental to your metabolic health while also not improving your fertility.
Furthermore, Maiya et al conducted a study in which participants undertook an at home workout over a 3 month period. The results showed that women lost an average of 8.2 kg, with 5 of the 21 anovulatory subjects resuming spontaneous ovulation, 7 achieving a pregnancy and 9 women had a reduction in the cyst size, which was confirmed by ultrasound.
Weight loss can help restore hormone balance, through lowering insulin levels and stopping the ovary from producing too many androgens.
Consume more vegetable sources of protein
It is suggested that consuming more vegetable protein than animal protein can help improve fertility.
In their study, Chavarro et al found women who consumed 5% of total energy intake as vegetable protein rather than as animal protein was associated with a more than 50% lower risk of ovulatory infertility (P = 0.007).
Slow Carbs, Not No Carbs
We all love carbohydrates, it is a macronutrient that we all turn to for comfort, taste and energy. However, for a few years now it has come under fire. Diets such as the Atkins were telling us that carbs are bad and we should eliminate them from our diet.
As a result of all the questions, scientists undertook research to understand the role of carbohydrates in our diet. Low Carb diets were compared to low-fat diets to identify their effect on our weight and weight loss.
The outcome led us to find out that certain types of carbohydrates have a different effect on our health.
The Nurse's Health Study (NHS II) found that a high carbohydrate diet is linked to ovulatory infertility. Results show women who consumed high levels of carbs had a 78% greater risk of ovulatory infertility. In addition, the study showed vegetable protein consumption was associated with a 43% lower risk.
More specifically, it is not a high carbohydrate diet that affects fertility, it is a diet filled with fast digesting carbs, such as white bread, white rice, sugary drinks. Easily digested carbs contain a higher glycemic load, which cause blood sugar levels to rise and insulin levels to spike.
Women in the highest glycemic-load category were 92 percent more likely to have had ovulatory infertility than women in the lowest category.
Therefore, it is not about how many carbs you eat, it is about the type of carbs you eat that effect fertility.
Supplement with Vitamin E and Zinc
Fertility and Sterility published a study, examining whether a thin endometria can be improved by increasing uterine radial artery (uRA) blood flow. The study used vitamin E as supplementation for women who had a thin endometrium (<8 mm) and high RA-RI (≥0.81).
Results indicate that vitamin E supplementation may be beneficial in increasing the thickness of the endometrium. Results show 52% patients developed an endometrium of more than 8 mm, 72% of the women showed improved RA-RI (<0.81) and 20% patients conceived during the vitamin E treatment cycle.
Zinc has been found to be a key factor in helping the reproductive system.
- Egg production. Zinc helps to produce mature eggs ready for fertilization
- Maintaining proper follicular fluid levels. An egg requires enough fluid in the follicles for it to travel through the fallopian tubes and into the uterus for implantation.
- Hormone regulation. Zinc helps keep hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone stable during a woman's menstrual cycle. Zinc is especially important during stage 2 and 4 of a woman’s cycle.
Steer clear of Pesticides
Pesticides are used in agriculture and public health to control insects, weeds, animals, and vectors of disease. There have been several studies indicating the effects pesticides have on female and male fertility.
The female reproductive system is dependent on a healthy hormone balance and pesticides are known endocrine disruptor.
Research has shown glyphosate blocks the enzyme aromatase, which is meant to aid in the androgen to estrogen conversion, in turn causing an excess of androgen.
The Yale School Of Medicine found that the chemical Methoxychlor (MXC) may interfere with proper development and function of the reproductive tract, leading to reduced fertility in women.
The study found Methoxychlor can mimic the action of hormones and in some instances interfere with endocrine function. Research suggested that some of these endocrine disruptors bind estrogen receptors and in turn negatively affect reproductive tract development, which is heavily influenced by estrogen.
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