• Fish Oil Supplementation to Improve Male Fertility

    By Robin Miller RDN

    Studies suggest that infertility affects approximately 15% of all couples, and although conventional wisdom suggests that infertility is a female issue, the reality is approximately 40% to 50% of fertility issues are due to male factors.  Much research suggests that a healthy diet rich in certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, other vitamins, specifically, vitamin D and folate, and low in saturated fat and trans–fat is associated with good semen quality. Fish, shellfish, other seafood, poultry, cereals, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, and skim milk have been found to be positively associated with several semen parameters as well. Fish and fish liver oil in particular also contain other essential nutrients, that have been associated with better semen quality. With that said, there is now new research and data focused on the intake of fish oil supplements and testicular function as measured by semen quality and reproductive hormone levels. 


    After examining data from nearly 1,700 young men, researchers determined that fish oil supplementation was associated with a higher sperm count and improved levels of hormones, specifically lower FSH and LH levels; higher free testosterone to LH ratio that contribute to male fertility, according to the report published in JAMA Network Open. 

    However, the amount of fish oil the men in the study took was wide-ranging, so there is no specific quantity that can be suggested from this study. Furthermore, because it’s an observational study, we can’t assume a causal or contributing relationship between fish oil supplements and positive outcomes; a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study is the preferred method of research to support a positive correlation. 

    In the meantime, most everyone can benefit from more fish in our diets! Incorporate wild, organic, preferably low-mercury fish, such as wild salmon, shrimp, tilapia and whitefish to name a few, into your diet 1-2 a week. Try swapping out a deli meat sandwich with a tuna sandwich or a steak for a piece of wild salmon during the week and you will be naturally getting in some healthy fish oil along with tons of other nutrients, like vitamin D, iron, zinc and magnesium that support fertility. If fish is not your jam, try supplementing a high-quality fish oil supplement to achieve optimal benefits. 

    To learn more about ways to increase fish in your diet as well as find a fish oil supplement right for you, schedule a nutrition consult  today  and work with one of our Registered Dietitians!

    Reference: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2758861

     

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Impact on Fertility

    By Margaret Eich, MS, RDN

    In recent years, we’ve been learning about the impact of quality of fats on our health. The focus should be on including healthy fats, instead of on following a low fat diet. The same is true for fertility. We learned in the Nurses’ Health Study that higher intake of trans fats was associated with ovulatory infertility. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids seem to impact fertility in a variety of ways.

    Let’s back up and review the different types of omega-3 fatty acids. The plant source omega-3 fatty acid (like walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseed) is called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and the animal source omega-3 fatty acids (like cold water fatty fish, eggs, and grassfed beef) are EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA may have beneficial impacts on our health and fertility. Our body is able to convert a small amount of ALA into EPA and DHA, but this conversion is inefficient. Going right to the source by getting EPA and DHA from fish, eggs, and supplements is your best bet.

    Studies have looked at the impact of omega-3 fatty acids on embryo quality, PCOS, endometriosis, and sperm quality. Higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with better embryo quality when doing IVF. An additional animal study showed similar results. In a randomized controlled trial of men with low sperm count, motility, and morphology, EPA and DHA supplementation improved all three of these sperm parameters compared to placebo. In PCOS, omega-3 fatty acids may help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and reduce insulin resistance. Higher intakes of omega-3 fatty acids have also been associated with lower risk for endometriosis, and in an animal model of endometriosis, omega-3 fatty acids helped induced regression of endometriosis lesions.

    Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, have many potential fertility benefits. Eating low mercury fatty fish is beneficial, however it’s important to keep even low mercury fish intake to 12 oz per week. Thus EPA and DHA supplementation is often recommended in order to take in omega-3 fatty acids on a daily basis.

    Try our EPA/DHA in July and save 20% while supplies last!  Use promo code EPA20 when checking out in our online store here.

    References

    Hammiche F, Vujkovic M, Wijburg W, et al. Increased preconception omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake improves embryo morphology. Fertility and Sterility. 2011; 95(5):1820-1823.

    Yang K, Zeng L, Bao T, et al. Effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids for polycystic ovarian syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018;16:27.

    Safarinejad MR. Effect of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on semen profile and enzymatic antioxidant capacity of seminal plasma in infertile men with idiopathic oligoasthenoteratospermia: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Andrologia. 2010;43:38-47.