Fertility of woman and man

Is there a connection between antioxidants and success rates of fertility treatment?

Every couple undergoing fertility treatment wonders whether it is possible to improve success rates of this treatment, e.g. by a certain lifestyle. A recent publication by a Turkish group of scientists in the renowned journal „ Assisted Reproduction Technologies“ offers suggestions on what to do.

The researchers examined the correlation between a woman’s antioxidant and oxidant status and the success rate of fertility treatment. The term “oxidant” refers to highly reactive molecules capable of inflicting damage on the body’s cells. Antioxidants, on the other hand, counteract these detrimental effects. A lot of vitamins and minerals in our diet belong to these antioxidants. Ideally, the oxidants and antioxidants are in balance. However, if this delicate balance collapses, oxidative stress may occur, resulting in damage known to impair fertility.

When linking the antioxidant and oxidant levels of 70 healthy women undergoing fertility treatment to their treatment outcome, namely clinical pregnancy, the scientists found that women having more antioxidants than oxidants in their blood had a significantly higher chance of getting pregnant during fertility treatment.

So what does this imply for a woman planning for pregnancy?

In order to avoid increasing levels of oxidants, it is recommended to quit smoking and avoid environmental pollutants where possible. Stress contributes to oxidative stress, too. On the other hand it is advisable to be aware of a sufficient antioxidant uptake. A good source of antioxidants are fruit and vegetables. A minimum of 5 servings per day should be consumed (3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruits). Nuts are a valuable source of precious minerals and ought not to be forgotten, either.
Very likely your gynecologist will advise you to supplement folic acid when planning for pregnancy. So if you feel that in everyday life with all its demands you sometimes find it hard to stick to a healthy and varied diet, it might be wise to choose a supplement combining highly-dosed folic acid with a comprehensive multivitamin and mineral supply. For optimal protection from oxidative stress a preparation featuring an antioxidant with sustained release (e.g. Fertilovit® F35plus) is recommended.

Yunus Aydin , Orhan Ozatik, Hikmet Hassa, Dilek Ulusoy, Serdal Ogut and Fezan Sahin.”Relationship between oxidative stress and clinical pregnancy in assisted reproductive technology treatment cycles.” Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics Official Publication of ALPHA, Scientists in Reproductive Medicine© Springer Science+Business Media New York 201310.1007/s10815-013-0005-2

About the author

Dr. rer. nat. Birgit Wogatzky

For many years now, biologist and nutritionist Dr Birgit Wogatzky, has been focusing on the special needs of fertility patients. For the readers of this blog, she sums up interesting novel information and developments from current research projects regarding lifestyle and nutrition of fertility patients.

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