Fertility and nutrition are inversely correlated, especially in women. However, despite mounting scientific evidence supporting the role of nutrition in human reproduction, the numerous “pro-fertility” dietary models investigated to date have produced inconsistent or inconclusive findings. Personalized dietary models and the role of “precision nutrition” in the fight against infertility are the focus of a recent study conducted by the B-Woman Center for Women’s Health in Rome. An approach that might be much more effective for infertile patients than a general nutritional strategy.
The review, co-authored by authors from the universities of L’Aquila and Chieti-Pescara and the reproductive health organization Generalife, presents fresh perspectives on the nutritional care of infertile patients. The proper diet specifically “targets” chronic low-grade inflammation, a key factor linked to several diseases related to infertility, “explains Gemma Fabozzi, the first author of the paper and the nutritional biologist in charge of the B-Woman centre’s nutrition department.
He adds that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle habits aid in conception. Since every person is an individual with unique characteristics, there hasn’t yet been a specific “fertility diet” identified, and they probably never will be. Giulia Verdone, a dietician at the B-Woman Center and an expert in nutrigenetics and oncological nutrition, emphasizes that patients’ genetic profiles, which are what distinguish us from one another and account for why a particular diet may be effective for one patient but not another, should receive special attention.
The following are the salient features of “precision nutrition in patients with infertility problems:
Since many diseases associated with infertility are caused by a pro-inflammatory state and the alteration of significant inflammation markers, according to Fabozzi, this aspect should always be taken into account in the nutritional management of infertile patients. In particular, nutritional plans with marked anti-inflammatory properties should be developed using foods with nutrigenomic properties, which can modulate the expression of specific genes that regulate infertility.
Not only weight and height
Additionally, Giulia Verdone says, For a more thorough anamnesis, these dietary regimens should be based not only on the assessment of various anthropometric parameters of the patients (height, weight, characteristics of body composition) but also take into consideration their eating habits, lifestyles, genetic make-ups, and the condition of their microbiota in their gut, which can be evaluated through specific tests.
Options on the table
The review summarises some of the most important methods for individualized nutritional support in infertile women, focusing on treating chronic low-grade inflammation, which underlies several infertility-related conditions like endometriosis polycystic ovary syndrome, chronic endometritis, and obesity. One crucial strategy is deepening the patient’s lifestyle choices (for instance, vegetarianism) to outline a more suitable integration.
The glycemic load
According to experts, the glycemic load of each meal must be carefully controlled to prevent altered glycemic and insulinemic responses, one of the primary ways that diet can affect fertility. This is primarily accomplished through the functional pairings of foods, such as consuming carbohydrates consistently with fibre, proteins, and healthy fats; specific timing of meals, such as always starting with vegetables; specific cooking techniques, such as always sautéing the food in a pan with extra virgin olive oil; and the consumption of foods with anti-inflammatory epigenetic properties (spices such as turmeric, ginger, chilli, dried fruit, or Evo oil).
What to avoid?
Excluding foods that the patient exhibits decreased tolerance for (like dairy products, gluten, etc.) and avoiding pro-inflammatory behaviours (like using harmful cooking methods like the grill or barbecue, or drinking alcohol) must also be addressed because it’s not just about “what to eat,” but also “what to avoid.”
In order to prevent infertility rather than treat it, the researchers think that a mental shift is necessary and that a better, more individualized diet must always be recommended at a young age and followed throughout life.
According to Danilo Cimadomo, Head of Research and Development for the Generalife company, personalized nutrition is a tool to maintain health rather than to treat an illness.