The results of this study were presented at the annual meeting of ESHRE (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology) by Dr Jorge Chavarro, Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, USA.
“Different types of fat are known to have different effects on biological processes which may influence the outcome of assisted reproduction – such as underlying levels of inflammation or insulin sensitivity. However, it is not clear at this moment which biological mechanisms underlie the associations we found,” said Chavarro in the press release.
The study took place among 147 women having IVF at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center. According to the press release, they had preclinical assessments including oocyte development. They were also categorized into tertiles of fat intake, with outcomes compared in relation to the lowest tertile. Results were controlled for other sources of energy, infertility diagnosis, ovarian stimulation protocol, body mass index (BMI) and smoking status.
The study also found that women who ate polyunsaturated fat or the “bad fat” had more poor quality embryos. The connection of a diet high in saturated fat and lower sperm count has already been discovered.
Eating foods that are high in the monounsaturated fats or “good” fat such as avocados, vegetable oils, nuts and olives could increase your fertility up to three times.
Diets that incorporate these types of food include the Mediterranean Diet. The connection of health benefits and this diet isn’t new. In fact several research studies have connected this healthy lifestyle with lowering the risk of heart disease and reducing the risk of diabetes. It also is associated with better overall health, reduction of chronic illnesses and longevity.
Dr. Chavarro’s study is the first to look at the connection between dietary fats and the treatment outcomes in IVF. He believes it is important that more studies are conducted between the two before making strong recommendations for women undergoing infertility treatment to increase their monounsaturated fat intake.