Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook




 

Mediterranean diet in women improves IVF success

05 February 2018

By Isobel Steer

Appeared in BioNews 936

Researchers in Greece have found that a Mediterranean diet is linked with an over 65 percent improvement in a woman’s chances of a successful pregnancy with IVF

Inhabitants of the Mediterranean regions typically enjoy a diet rich in fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish and olive oil. Their diet is balanced and lower in the 'meats and mayonnaise' consumed typically in the UK and USA. But researchers at the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Harokopio University of Athens wanted to find out whether this diet also affected IVF outcomes.

The team, led by Dr Nikos Yiannakouris, looked at a sample group of 244 women aged 22 to 41 who enrolled at an assisted conception unit in Athens. They aimed to study the effects of diet 'beyond body weight' and therefore only studied non-obese women. The study also controlled for various other factors, including physical activity, anxiety and supplement use. 

The team used a food-frequency questionnaire to give each woman a Mediterranean diet score, and divided up women with high, medium or low scores. The highest scoring group of 86 women had the greatest adherence to a Mediterranean diet. These women also had a 65 to 68 percent greater likelihood of achieving a successful pregnancy and live birth compared to the 79 women in the lowest scoring group.

'The important message from our study is that women attempting fertility should be encouraged to eat a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, because greater adherence to this healthy dietary pattern may help increase the chances of successful pregnancy and delivering a live baby,' said Dr Yiannakouris.

For conception, a healthy diet for male partners was just as important as for women (see BioNews 777). 'Previous work from our research group among the male partners of our study has suggested that adherence to the Mediterranean diet may also help improve semen quality.' 

The findings of the study, published in Human Reproduction, cannot be generalised to all women, to obese women, or to women over the age of 35, the authors caution. There was no link between the Mediterranean diet and pregnancy outcomes among women in the older age group. The dominant effect of age on fertility could mask any environmental effects, the authors note. 

The study did not pinpoint any causal mechanism for how the Mediterranean diet could be affecting IVF success. Calling for more research into this question, the group ultimately hopes to develop nutritional guidelines for women to further improve fertility treatment success rates. 

'As more couples worldwide face infertility problems and seek access to assisted reproduction technologies to conceive, it is essential for them to receive counselling on the importance of dietary influences and of adopting a healthy lifestyle,' concluded Dr Yiannakouris. 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

05 February 2018 - by Dr Thanos Papathanasiou 
Being a healthy weight, eating a varied diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, taking regular exercise and cutting alcohol – is all good advice for everyone. But the direct influence on these factors on the fertility of both men and women, highlighted this week by a study suggesting a 'Mediterranean diet' in women can boost IVF success rates is now becoming better understood...

06 November 2017 - by Professor Joyce Harper 
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference was held last week in San Antonio, USA. Several oral presentations of abstracts made it into the popular press and have added to the confusion and inaccurate information fed to the public...
24 October 2016 - by Annabel Slater 
Artificial sweeteners found in soft drinks may reduce female fertility, a study suggests...
08 December 2014 - by Dr Nicoletta Charolidi 
Women who consume a Mediterranean-style diet are less likely to show evidence of 'cellular ageing' and therefore more likely to live longer, say US researchers...
27 October 2014 - by Isobel Steer 
To improve chances of conception, men should drink a pint of beer daily, cut down on coffee, eat more fruit and vegetables (beware a coating of sperm-harming pesticides), and avoid vegetarian or vegan diets...
19 August 2013 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas 
Claims for the health benefits of the typically Mediterranean diet high in olive oil, fish, and complex carbohydrates are common, if hard to substantiate...

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust
Advertise your products and services HERE - click for further details

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation