Article Review: Managing Female Fertility Through Personalized Nutrition
Alexandra Krager, Nutrition Science & Dietetic Student
Sherri Isaak, MS, RD, CDCES, BC-ADM, DipACLM
Infertility is an issue that impacts people throughout the world, not only physically, but mentally as well. Approximately 48.5 million couples worldwide experience infertility, and struggle to find treatments or ways to improve their fertility to create the family that they dream of.1 There are many factors that can contribute to female fertility, but there are known risk factors that can increase the risk of infertility, such as body mass index and unbalanced diet. Whether the individual is overweight or underweight, there is a similar pattern in the risk that this plays in the infertility of the individual. It has been proposed that complications with body mass index are due to excess or diminished intake of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, which are essential micro and macro nutrients for energy within the body.1 With the proper balancing of micro and macro nutrient intake, it has been shown that overall health can be improved, but there is also an enhancement of female fertility that takes place.
The different steps of the female reproductive cycle, such as ovulation, menstruation, implantation, placentation, and pregnancy, all rely on inflammatory pathways to take place correctly. If the cycle is disrupted, problems with fertility problems that women experience can arise.1 The chronic inflammation that someone can experience could be due to conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), celiac disease or other inflammatory diseases, or could be caused by obesity. With the connections being made between infertility and chronic inflammation, many recommendations can be made to help improve female fertility through conscious changes to the daily diet and cooking methods.
Whole grains, fruit, vegetables, omega-3 rich foods and olive oil are some of the proposed food groups included to help improve fertility, as well as overall health.1 There has also been evidence that shows that nutraceuticals found in various spices, such as turmeric, ginger and chili pepper (capsaicin), have been known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could also benefit those who are experiencing chronic inflammation or fertility problems.1 Limiting certain foods, such as alcohol, foods high in saturated fats and caffeine have also shown to have an impact on female fertility. Specifically, women who are pregnant, or are attempting to become pregnant, the current recommendation is to limit caffeine intake to 200 mg/day, which is equivalent to 1–2 cups of coffee.1
In addition to dietary changes, the way the food is prepared also plays an important role in inflammatory processes that take place within the body. Utilizing methods that prepare food using high heat under dry conditions, like grilling, can produce compounds known as advanced glycation end-products or AGEs, which can be toxic.1 Being mindful of cooking temperatures and utilizing wet cooking methods, such as using broth, oil or water to prepare food can help to reduce inflammatory compounds that are formed during cooking.
1. Fabozzi G, Verdone G, Allori M, Cimadomo D, Tatone C, Stuppia L, Franzago M, Ubaldi N, Vaiarelli A, Ubaldi FM, Rienzi L and Gennarelli G. Personalized Nutrition in the Management of Female Infertility: New Insights on Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation. Nutrients. 2022; 14(9), DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14091918