What are the key foods to maximize the chances of conceiving and harmful lifestyles: for example 7 sugary drinks a week lengthen the time to conception and alcohol acts on the testicular level
There is one fertility diet scientifically proven that maximizes the possibilities of conceive? Experts say it is not only for women, but also for men. However, it does not mean believing what you read online about alleged people super food for those who want to become parents. This is a broader vision.
Get there healthy
It reflects the ever-increasing attention to the relevance of preconception care to maximize the success of the pregnancy – and protect the health of the child – changing your lifestyle, and therefore also table habits, and spreading greater awareness of the reality of infertility. As doctors we advise women to face the pregnancy in the best possible health conditions because the consequences of malnutrition can also be dangerous for prenatal health, comments Nicoletta Di Simone, head of the Multidisciplinary Center for Pregnancy Pathology at Humanitas San Pio However, despite growing recognition of the importance of nutrition for reproductive health, key foods in an attempt to optimize fertility are not fully defined.
Sugar and fast food to avoid
To date, here is what is really known thanks to scientific research. A recent prospective cohort study on more than 5 thousand pregnant women from the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand has highlighted how the waiting time to achieve pregnancy is longer in the presence of reduced levels of intake of fruit (at least 3 times a day versus less than 3 times a month), which corresponds to an increased incidence of infertility in the1-4%, continues the expert. The same study observed how the waiting time to achieve pregnancy is reduced with decrease in fast food corresponding to an absolute reduction in infertility of 3-8%. In a prospective cohort of 3,828 women planning to become pregnant and 1,045 of their male partners in North America, consuming at least seven sugar-sweetened drinks per week seemed compromising fertility, in the sense that a longer time is required before spontaneously obtaining a pregnancy, underlines the gynecologist. Furthermore, in the same group of patients one was seen fertility reduced by approximately 10% in the presence of loads glycemic higher, that is, proportional to how much the food introduced increased the glucose level in a person’s blood (glycemic load of at least 141 versus a value of less than 100).
No to alcohol and energy drinks
Discussions about beneficial foods often focus on female fertility, but there is growing awareness of how diet can also influence male fertility. In fact, as we read above Fertility and Sterility explains the expert, poultry meat has proven to be protective food when comparing the fertilizing capacity of seminal fluid, therefore male fertility, evaluated in medically assisted procreation centers, contrary to consumption of processed meats (sausages and cured meats) rich in saturated fatty acids. Same benefits for fish. Among the factors whose quantity should be controlled is consumption alcohol which includes beer, wine and spirits. It works, on a level testicular
, on Leydig and Sertoli cells interfering with regular spermatogenesis. As regards women, a significant correlation has been demonstrated between the extent of alcohol intake and the reduction in the fertility rate. Furthermore, alcohol is not recommended for pregnant women, the gynecologist recommends. Negative effects on fertility have also been described for caffeine, which is contained not only in coffee, but also in tea, energy drinks and chocolate. This is why a limited intake is recommended.
It is difficult to estimate the weight of individual foods
So, what to eat? What it constitutes the true Mediterranean diet
. A new study, which appeared on Jama Network Open highlighted how structured maternal interventions on lifestyle during pregnancy, based on the Mediterranean diet or on stress reduction thanks to mindfulness, improved child neurodevelopmental outcomes at age two. Although recent literature on the impact of dietary patterns and the evaluation of individual foods or nutrients on infertility is limited, says the gynecologist, it has been seen as greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet vera leads to a higher rate of live births, a reduction in the waiting time to conception and a improvement of the fertility rate. Upon medical advice, you can think about a possible supplementation, for example, of folic acid, vitamin B or D.
Be careful with integrations
As always, too much is too good. An excessive introduction of some micronutrients could increase your risk of developing a gestational diabetes, for example due to oxidative stress caused by high concentrations of iron or due to an accumulation of non-metabolisable folic acid in patients with genetic mutations of the MTHFR enzyme. Just as an excess of copper is associated with an increased risk of preterm birth and maternal dyslipidemia, says the gynecologist. In the future, a mapping of nutritional deficiencies will help clinicians to indicate personalized supplementation, avoiding the danger associated with high concentrations of some micronutrients.
The causes of infertility
To understand the importance of a diet for future parents and a fundamental lifestyle change, break down the main ones causes of infertility which affects, as has been highlighted in the reports of the World Health Organization and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, millions of couples throughout the world: it reaches percentages between 12 and 20% and associated with a significant emotional and economic burden.
The causes can be grouped into five categories, as defined in 2020 by the National Register of Medically Assisted Procreation of the Istituto Superiore di Sanit, specifies Dr. Di Simone. Female infertility which includes tubal, ovulatory or functional problems of the ovary, endometriosis, uterine factor (from malformation to endometrial problems), multiple abortions, reduced ovarian reserve. And, again, male infertility due to a low sperm count or low fertilizing capacity; male and female infertility; genetic infertility; idiopathic or sine causa infertility lists the expert.
There is a healthier type of vaginal microbiota
Even the microbiota, the set of good microorganisms, can be among the possible causes of infertility. A female genital system, vagina and uterus in particular, eubiotic, i.e. in balance, dominated by over 70% by Lactobacilli which make the conditions ideal for fertilization and, in case of lower values, for local inflammation: this, however, is the “enemy” of the future mother, explains Luca Masucci, associate professor at the Institute of Microbiology, head of the Molecular diagnostics and manipulation of the microbiota operational unit, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A.Gemelli Irccs of Rome.
In fact, within the Lactobacilli “family” there are species that produce the vaginal environment is different and endometrial, favoring or not the onset of vaginitis or vaginosis and endometritis, underlines Masucci. Based on the presence or absence of these Lactobacilli species it was possible to divide the vaginal microbiota into five classes. The detection of one or another class allows us to identify not only the state of eubiosis, but also a predisposition or presence of bacterial and viral infections as in the case of Papilloma. To alter the microbiota, favoring the growth of pathogens, there may also be the excessive consumption of carbohydrateswhich can favor the onset of candidiasis, theprolonged use of antibiotics and the anatomical proximity between the intestine and the genital tract. In fact, inflammatory states of the intestine, the great conductor of our immune system, can also promote inflammation of the genital tract, adds Luca Masucci.
Finally, microorganisms can also be found in the genital tract of men. The consequences of their presence in the reproductive system can alter the seminal fluid, in terms of quantity and morphology, and the motility of the spermatozoacontinues Masucci.
In the evaluation of fertility there is not only the individual, but also the couple. Casual unprotected sexual intercourse creates an exchange of pathogenic and non-pathogenic microorganisms between partners, just as each consolidated partner can influence the composition of the microbiota of the other’s reproductive tract. Some microorganisms, present in one or the other sex, can be the cause of miscarriages, premature births, alterations of the seminal fluid and perinatal infections, concludes the expert.
November 5, 2023 (modified November 5, 2023 | 08:36)
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