Fertility and Nutrition

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Story Updated: Oct 25, 2012

You are what you eat. In fact, four separate studies suggest nutrition plays a vital role in your reproductive health.

The research, just presented at the 68th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, focuses on diet and how it impacts sperm quality or In Vitro Fertilization success rates.

Two of the four studies looked at diet and semen quality. The first examined dairy intake. The data showed that the more dairy a participant had in his diet, the more of a decline in sperm quality. And the higher the fat-content in the dairy, the bigger the problem.

The second sperm study used the same data to compare carbohydrate consumption to semen quality. More carbohydrates in the diet equaled an increase in the glycemic rates. This was associated with a decline in sperm counts in younger men ages 18 to 22.

Meanwhile, women going through IVF also had their diets analyzed in two complimentary studies.

In the first, patients were asked to keep a dietary log and the data was analyzed for nutritional content.

Patients who ate more protein and fewer carbs had higher pregnancy rates.

In the second study, the team focused on 12 women who had gone through IVF with poor results. Dietary counseling was added to increase protein, while decreasing carbs in their diet.

Following the nutrition change, they tried IVF again. The pregnancy rate went from 17% to 83%.

More research is needed, but all four studies offer clues that a healthy diet plays a role in many different body processes.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news doctors are reading health news for healthier living.

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