The impact of diet on fertility


Fertility experts in Southampton are conducting a trial on the positive impact of the so-called Mediterranean diet on women using IVF. This diet includes increased intake of omega-3 fish oil and vitamin D. The 110 couples will start on the diets six weeks prior to treatment. This is the time known as the preconception period. Researchers will be testing the effect on the quality of sperm and egg cells, the resulting embryo and the environment of the uterus.

Testing the impact of diet on fertility

“Some recent studies suggest a Mediterranean diet rich in vitamin D and omega-3 might improve the outcome from IVF, but the idea is yet to be tested in a proper randomized trial,” noted Professor Nick Macklon, medical director of complete Fertility Centre Southampton and a consultant in obstetrics and gynecology at the Princess Anne Hospital. “Despite various attempts to make breakthroughs, good evidence of the effects of diet on fertility is lacking, largely due to the rigorous nature and long durations of diet plans which fail to reach completion.”

Prior lab studies show a significant impact

In a recent study done on laboratory rodents scientists found that dietary manipulations within a very short period around the time of implantation had a profound effect on early development. “The results of a similar study in rodents has given us an indication of possible outcomes and we are confident the short duration and simplicity of PREPARE (preconception dietary supplements in assisted reproduction) will improve willingness to participate and compliance with the diet. As a result, the study should provide us with complete and substantial data on this subject area for the first time.”

A positive result could impact all women seeking pregnancy

“Should a significant positive impact on early development be demonstrated, it would have major implications for health policy and strengthen arguments for the provision of preconceptional nutritional advice to the general population,” concluded Macklon.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Southampton Children’s Hospital
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