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  • Research Round-Up: Lifestyle Intervention for Enhanced Fertility

    Fertility Research Review April 2015

    By Meghan McMillan, R.D.

    We are always reading up on the latest research regarding lifestyle factors and fertility to make sure that our clinical approach is up to date. Read on to learn some of the important research findings in the field of lifestyle therapy for fertility.

    Male Fertility

    A study published in the Journal of Human Reproduction on March 30, 2015 found that a diet with high-residue pesticide fruit and vegetable intake is associated with poorer semen quality. Additionally, low-to-moderate pesticide residue fruit and vegetable intake was associated with a higher percentage of morphologically normal sperm. The results from the study support the recommendation for consuming organic produce to promote optimal fertility.

    Another study published in July of 2014 in the Journal of Nutrition found that dietary intake of processed meats was inversely related to sperm morphology. Men in the highest quartile of processed meat intake had, on average, fewer morphologically normal sperm than men in the lowest quartile of intake. Additionally they found that the men with the highest fish intake had higher sperm counts and percentage of morphologically normal sperm. These results continue to support our recommendations for limiting pro-inflammatory processed meats. They also support supplementation of omega 3 fatty acids.

    A third study published on July 29, 2014 in the Journal of Human Reproduction gathered data from the The Rochester Young Men’s Study; a cross-sectional study of 189 healthy young men carried out at the University of Rochester during 2009-2010. The results implicate an inverse correlation between the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages and sperm motility. An intake >1.3 servings per day showed a 9.8% decline in sperm motility when compared to those who consumed <0.02 servings.

    Celiac Disease

    A study in the journal Arquivos de Gastroenterologia published in April of 2014 found significant association was found between women with a diagnosis of infertility and undiagnosed celiac disease. The study also found that following a gluten-free diet for this group of patients may have a positive effect on fertility outcomes for this group. The results of this support recommendations to have clients tested for celiac disease as well as recommendations for conducting an elimination (gluten-free) diet.

    Vitamin D

    A study on the effects of vitamin D supplementation on serum sRAGE and AMH in vitamin D-deficient women with PCOS was published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in May of 2014. The study looked at 67women with or without PCOS who were diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency. Fifty-one women were replaced with oral vit D3 for 8 weeks (16 with PCOS and 35 controls) and 16 women were not treated (six with PCOS and 10 controls). Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25 OH-D), sRAGE, and AMH concentrations were measured at baseline and after vit D3 supplementation in the treated group and 8 weeks apart in the nontreated group. The results of the study showed that in women with PCOS, vitamin D might exert a protective effect against the inflammatory action of AGEs by increasing circulating sRAGE. Also, the normalization in serum AMH induced by vitamin D replacement could suggest an improvement in folliculogenesis.

    A systemic review study published in August of 2014 in the journal Fertility and Sterility supported these findings as well. The authors concluded that there is a possible physiologic role for vitamin D in ovarian follicular development and luteinization. They found that Vitamin D is positively correlated with AMH. In vitamin D deficient women with PCOS supplementation lowers the abnormally elevated serum AMH levels, possibly indicating a mechanism by which vitamin D improves folliculogenesis. The anti-inflammatory sRAGE serum levels significantly increase in women with PCOS after vitamin D replacement.