Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have proven that sticking to a “fertility diet” was associated with a lower risk of ovulatory disorder infertility (ODI). By following a diet with “higher consumption of monounsaturated rather than trans fats, vegetable rather than animal protein sources, low glycemic carbohydrates, high fat dairy, multivitamins, and iron from plants and supplements”, one can reduce infertility caused by ODI.
What is ovulatory disorder infertility? ODI is infertility based upon issues concerning the release of a follicle from the ovary. Ovulatory disorders can manifest as a lack of ovulation (anovulation) or irregular ovulation (oligoovulation). In anovulation, the eggs may not develop properly for fertilization. In some cases, the eggs don’t develop at all. In oligoovulation, the periods are irregular. It is possible for menstruation to still occur in women, even without ovulation. Therefore, a monthly period does not necessarily equate to the ability to conceive.
How is ovulatory disorder infertility diagnosed? ODI is diagnosed through patient medical history, family medical history, temperature charts, blood tests, and ultrasound. Any combination of the above data can be used to diagnose ODI. But since the cause of ODI is unknown, it remains that each individual will require and respond differently to treatment. Reasonably, a doctor should prescribe specific treatment relevant to each individual.
The findings of the study show the importance of diet and lifestyle in regards to fertility. By eating healthy, controlling weight gain, exercising frequently, and managing stress, ODI can be influenced in a positive way. Although not noted in the results, it can be mentioned that the woman’s monthly blood hormone activity is more balanced (i.e. LH, FSH, Progesterone, etc.) with a well-regulated period. The good news is that these tools can be integrated into any Eastern (acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, massage) or Western (IVF, ICSI, IUI, cryopreservation, etc.) program. The best part is that making lifestyle adjustments for the better provides a healthy environment to nurture a growing fetus. Also, these lifestyle changes cost next to nothing and the benefits can be reaped long after conceiving and carrying your baby to term.
NOTE: Be sure to notify your doctor of all treatments you may be undertaking as well as any changes to your lifestyle.
As a recap, here are some food ideas that may help reduce ovulatory disorder infertility:
- Replace saturated and trans fats with monounsaturated fats. (Typically monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Examples: olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil)
- Consume vegetable rather than animal protein sources. Some vegetable foods high in proteins are legumes, nuts, beans, seeds. (Examples: soybeans, kidney beans, peanuts, almonds, lentils)
- Eat low glycemic carbohydrates. (Examples: unsweetened yogurt, berries, cheese, eggs, fresh vegetables)
- Take a multivitamin. (For women trying to conceive, consider supplementing your diet with a prenatal vitamin.)
- Fertility Foods (nourishingresults.com)