It may be hard to believe that eating carbohydrates can impact on your fertility levels, but this is what scientists are claiming in their latest research. When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into sugars. These sugars are absorbed into your blood stream causing the pancreas to release more insulin in response.
How Does Insulin Affect Fertility?
One of the side effects of high insulin is that it increases the production of male hormones by the ovaries and therefore increases the hormone levels in the blood. This hormonal imbalance can affect the balance that is necessary for reproduction and ovulation and results in ovulatory infertility.
What Does The Research Claim?
The Nurses Health Study which was done in association with Harvard University studied more than 18,000 women. The study looked at diet and lifestyle among women hoping to conceive over an eight year period.
The study revealed that women who ate easily digested carbs (fast carbs), such as sugared soda drinks, white bread and potatoes, increased their chances of contracting ovulatory infertility.
In contrast, those who ate slowly digested carbs that are richer in fiber had improved fertility. These foods included vegetables, dark breads, brown rice and beans.
In addition to the carbohydrate revelation, the study also examined the affect of dietary fats on ovulation and reproduction. They found that women, who have too much stored energy, often have difficulty conceiving. The facts revealed that women who consume more trans fats, are more likely to suffer from ovulation related infertility. Those who ate more unsaturated fats were less at risk.
What Were The Recommendations?
The research concluded that the quality of the carbs that women are eating, has more influence than the amount. Eating a lot of fast carbs constantly boosts blood sugar and insulin levels. This affects hormone levels and the natural pattern of ovulation, and can reduce the chances of getting pregnant.
Eating foods like whole grains, vegetables and beans which are all good sources of slow carbs, can improve ovulation and your chances of becoming pregnant.
What Is The Connection To Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
PCOS is a condition that affects 5-10% of women of child bearing age, and can cause infertility. Research has found that many sufferers of PCOS have insulin resistance. This causes them to have higher levels than usual of insulin in their blood. These raised levels interfere with ovulation.
A low carb diet can help to regulate insulin levels and in doing so, lead to improved fertility.
Many doctors are quick to prescribe drugs for ovulatory problems such as PCOS. The latest research has raised the notion of treatment through nutritional management. It may not be the magical answer for all fertility problems, however, a nutrition plan that includes low carbs could help to reduce insulin and promote fertility.