WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Australian researchers found that regular consumption of fast food may increase the risk of infertility in women of childbearing age.
- The research suggested that fatty acids in a woman’s bloodstream may have an effect on the quality of her eggs.
- Raj Mathur, secretary of the British Fertility Society, found the research useful “for clinicians and women who are looking to start trying to conceive.”
Published on May 3 in the journal Human Reproduction, the study involved around 5,600 women from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the U.K. All participants were in the early stages of their first pregnancy, with ages ranging from 18 to 43.
“It is in keeping with other pieces of research, which show that your overall dietary pattern may influence fertility. The message from these studies seems to be that processed foods are bad, and fresh fruit and vegetables are good, for fertility,” Dr. Raj Mathur, who was not involved in the study, told Live Science.
The study also found that consuming less to no fruits could increase infertility risk to 50 percent. Several portions of fruit daily seemed to decrease the amount of time it took to get pregnant.
“The major finding is that the risk of infertility — that is, taking longer than 12 months to conceive — went from 8 percent for all the women in the cohort to 12 percent … in women with the lowest fruit intake,” said lead study author Claire Roberts.
“There was also an increase from 8 to 16 percent in the risk of infertility in women who ate four or more servings of fast food each week,” Roberts, a senior research fellow at Robinson Research Institute at the University of Adelaide in Australia, said.
Food Consumption was also linked to the amount of time it took women to conceive. Women who had three or more servings of fruit each day were able to conceive half a month sooner than women who ate less fruit in a month.
Additionally, women who ate fast food, including burgers, pizza, and chips four or more times a week conceived, on average, a month later than women who never consume fast food.
Roberts stressed that the research was adjusted for factors such as age, body mass index, maternal smoking, and alcohol consumption, to ensure the data represented only the effects of diet on infertility and amount of time needed to conceive.
“The things that you eat could get into your eggs, and that can affect whether your eggs could be fertilized or not,” Roberts told Live Science. “Fast-food diets are also high in fat, sugar and salt, which can alter metabolism.”
Additional research is needed to prove that certain group of foods have a direct effect on infertility risk.
Source: Live Science