Food and Fertility
The new year has begun and the over indulgence of champagne, chocolate and party food makes way for the ‘New Year, New You’ focus to get healthy and lose those few pounds gained over the festive season.
However, food and nutrition is greatly underestimated in terms of its benefits for reproductive health.
The saying of ‘we are what we eat’ could not be more true, and with a little more understanding of the benefits of nutrition found within food to help manage health and fertility issues such as poly cystic ovaries, sperm count and overall quality. The body and its cellular functions needs a variety of nutrients found in all foods and sometimes it’s a question of adding more certain food groups such as greens and proteins and avoiding sugar could not be easier with my saying ‘Natures Best will help towards your Fertile quest’.
I treat many couples with reproductive cellular issues such as egg and sperm quality with some nutritional lifestyle changes which has seen improvements in their reproductive health through blood and sample testing. Although it must be said that age does have impact on our reproductive cells, but there is increasing evidence that nutrition can help improve and perhaps delay the cellular ageing process but more research needs to be carried out.
It is well known that nutrition can help with the effects of oxidative stress and foods are constantly marketed for benefits of health to fight the effects of oxidative stress, but do we really understand what oxidative stress is and its effect on our body?
The effects of oxidative stress and mitochondrial DNA damage has been researched to show greater damage than that within the nuclear DNA cells, but what could this mean to our reproductive cells?
Mitochondria are organelles found within every cell of our body and are responsible for cellular energy for cell survival. Other functions for mitochondria include signalling, cellular differentiation and control of cell cycle and cell growth, so has a profound function within each cell.
We have recently seen how the mitochondrial transfer technique has been used in assisted reproductive with the ‘three parent baby’ IVF to help manage the genetic mitochondrial disease which are mutations of the organelle. The disease causes many debilitating symptoms including inhibited growth, loss of muscle movement and weakness, along with pain and organ failure.
David Meldrum 2013 highlighted the many reproductive ageing affects such as ovarian failure, oocyte telomere shortening, mitochondrial defects, and sperm DNA fragmentation all of which recent research have seen some connection with oxidative stress and its affect to accelerate the aging process of our cells.
We know through research and public health campaigns that oxidative stress is the cause of many lifestyle-related diseases such as, hypertension, diabetes, vascular diseases, and cancers and the connection between nutrition and cellular repair is clearly known and understood by many.
Although research is limited on the effects of nutrition and reproduction itself, but if we apply logic in what we already know so far in the effects on nutrition and health, we begin to understand that food is crucial to the health of our cells which also includes our reproductive cells. Therefore the new year’s resolution of eating healthy, can help you towards a healthier you and improved fertility.