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High cholesterol could lead to fertility problems

We already know that high cholesterol can be bad for the heart. But a recent study suggests that high cholesterol can also lead to fertility problems.

The study was conducted in the United States by the health research arm of the US government. The researchers tracked 401 couples that were trying to become pregnant. The couples didn’t have any previously reported fertility difficulties and the women were between the ages of 18 and 44. Over the course of a year, 347 of the women became pregnant while 54 did not.

Blood samples taken at the beginning of the study demonstrated a relationship between cholesterol levels and fertility. The study found that women with high cholesterol took longer to become pregnant than women with normal cholesterol levels, and it was even more difficult to conceive if both members of the couple had high cholesterol. Researcher Dr. Enrique Schisterman explained the implications of their findings:

“From our data, it would appear that high cholesterol levels not only increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, but also reduce couples’ chances of pregnancy. In addition to safeguarding their health, our results suggest that couples wishing to achieve pregnancy could improve their chances by first ensuring that their cholesterol levels are in an acceptable range.”

It is not yet known precisely how or why cholesterol impacts fertility but it has been suggested that cholesterol is important to the synthesis of sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone.

According to Professor Neil McClure, a fertility specialist at Queen’s University Belfast:

“The take home message is that we need to be as fit and well and healthy as we possibly can if we are thinking about trying to conceive.”

Read more about nutrition and fertility here, here, and here.

Read more about the study here.

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