Monday, December 28, 2009

Sugar and Infertility

I'm willing to bet that several of you know at least one couple who's had/ is having trouble conceiving. It seems like younger and younger women are having these issues. I can't believe how many women I know in their early to mid twenties that find themselves faced with an unwanted period month after month.

Since I've been researching my sugar addiction lately, I've come across several sources that link a high intake of sugar to fertility problems. If you know someone who's having fertility problems, a step as simple as cutting refined sugar from their diet could be the one thing that helps them get pregnant. Here are some articles to browse:

http://myyearwithout.blogspot.com/2009/03/nutrition-related-fertility-busters.html



This is from an interview with doctor Deborah Metzger, MD, PhD who's written a book on fertility (on this site):

MEMBER QUESTION:
Dr. Metzger, could you describe how a women's diet can impact ovulation and create hormone imbalance? What diet is helpful to restore imbalances?

METZGER:
The sugar is the most important. I have always been an advocate of Sugar Busters!, which came out in the 1990s, as a very important diet. Sugar per se doesn't have nutrients in it, so any time you take calories that have sugar, refined flour, or something like that you're being robbed of nutrients. But more important, when you take in something that is broken down quickly, such as white foods, your insulin raises quickly. High insulin levels disrupt the delicate hormonal values in the ovaries so more testosterone is produced, so the quality of egg may not be what is needed. In some women, high insulin levels may cause irregular ovulation, irregular periods, or something commonly known as polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS.

MEMBER QUESTION:
How far in advance of trying should I start taking prenatal vitamins?

METZGER:
In terms of preparing for pregnancy, a lot of women say, "Once I get pregnant, I'll make these changes. I'll eat well, take my vitamins, and quit smoking." It's important to understand that they may not get pregnant, or once pregnant that the fetus has already been exposed to these things for two to four weeks. So it's very important that a woman starts to prepare several months in advance of getting pregnant. That includes going on the
low-sugar diet, prenatal vitamins, decreasing stress, and seeing an acupuncturist.

MEMBER QUESTION:
Should my husband be taking a multivitamin or other vitamins while we are trying to conceive?

METZGER:
Yes, in particular selenium, about 200 micrograms a day, and zinc, 50 milligrams a day. These have demonstrated to improve the number and quality of sperm. In addition, for the man the
low-glycemic diet has been demonstrated to have beneficial affects on sperm.

MEMBER QUESTION:
My doctor told me that it isn't in any textbook but that his years of practice have shown that women on vegetarian diets or who limit their protein (due to calories/fat etc.) are more difficult to treat. Have you found this as well?

METZGER:
Yes. Besides being on a
low-glycemic diet adequate protein intake is essential. Probably about half of all women do not get adequate protein intake, particularly vegans and vegetarians. Vegans and vegetarians also do not get vitamin B12; this is a very important aspect of nutrition.

MEMBER QUESTION:
Is caffeine really that detrimental to fertility?

METZGER:
Drinking a cup of coffee or a diet soda with caffeine, or anything containing caffeine, is like drinking a cup of
sugar. The caffeine stimulates the liver to release glycogen, which is turned immediately into sugar. There have been a number of studies showing that caffeine intake does affect fertility. I don't think any of us would want to see our babies drinking caffeine.

In case you're curious about this and how you can start to cut sugar from your diet, I encourage you to do some more research on this subject. Also, here are a couple books to get you started:






The New Sugar Busters by Steward, Bethea, et. al.










Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels

2 comments:

  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Alena

    http://ovarianpain.net

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  2. I read Jillian Michael's book, and that was one of the things that made me decide to give up sugar last year...she mentioned how it can also help with PCOS...a month later, I got pregnant with Ari. I'm a believer. Refined sugar, as delicious and harmless as it seems, it kind of like poison to our bodies...it's also addictive :-/

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