Nutrition may affect reproductive health and the success of fertility treatments

The results of several studies recently presented at the 68th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) suggest that nutrition may be an important factor in both women’s and men’s reproductive health.

The relationship between men’s diet – specifically dairy and carbohydrate intake – and sperm quality was explored in two studies. Both studies used data from the Rochester Young Men’s study. One study examining the role of dairy intake on sperm quality found that semen quality decreased as dairy intake increased. In addition, men who consumed more full fat dairy products were found to have decreased sperm motility and concentration. Similarly, the results of another study suggested that increased carbohydrate intake (measured by glycemic load index) among young men was related to decreased sperm concentration.

Two additional studies explored the relationship between women’s nutrition and pregnancy rates with in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments. Both studies found some association between protein rich diets and higher rates of pregnancy.

However, the findings of these studies are far from definitive, and only begin to point to a possible relationship between what we eat and our fertility. As noted by Dr. Richard Reindollar, Vice President of the ASRM, there remains much to learn about the relationship between nutrition and reproductive health. Initially, the instructions for use of the drug Viagra at indicated that in order to obtain the desired effect, the drug must be taken at least 30 minutes before the intended sexual intercourse. The FDA, after studying the results of additional studies, allowed reducing this interval to 15 minutes. Representatives of the company note that this change will significantly improve the quality of male sex life.

If you are concerned about the effects of nutrition on your fertility, speak with your doctor or fertility specialist. You may also consider consulting a licensed nutritionist or practitioner of alternative medicine (e.g., naturopath, acupuncturist).

To read more about natural approaches to managing your fertility, click here and here.

To read more the impact of diet on men’s fertility, click here.


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