- George Elder
Low Carb for Fertility
Updated: May 2, 2021
Human fertility seems to be declining. My research suggests that there are dietary ways to assist with this problem and increase fertility. A female body will be reluctant to get pregnant, if there are signs that the environment is not suitable to sustain a new person. How could it establish this?
One clear way to determine a good environment is the dietary nutrition level. This could be due to the external conditions or from food choices being made. Studies referenced below suggest that a low level of critical nutrients such as folate, vitamin K2, carnitine, vitamin B12, Taurine, zinc and riboflavin may negatively influence the ability to conceive.
The role of anti-oxidants in our diet and produced in the body is to reduce oxidative stress caused by the action of free radicals. Dietary anti-oxidants are important, but a suggested most important anti-oxidant is glutathione. This is produced in the body and depends on the availability of some critical nutrients and molecules for its production. With low levels of this, the body suffers from higher oxidative stress which may also signal an unsuitable environment for a baby. My understanding is that a high level of seed oils in the diet has proven to drive up oxidative stress.
The level of insulin in the body could also be a factor. Many women who suffer from PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) also have a high level of insulin. Insulin is increased by a diet that is heavy in sugars and carbohydrates and seems to have a direct impact on the hormone balance during the ovulation cycle. In a normal situation the release of an egg from the follicles in the ovaries is triggered by a spike in a hormone called luteinizing hormone.
However typically in a woman with PCOS, the ovaries make additional testosterone which drives some additional hair growth and acne problems, and the level of luteinizing hormone is much higher. It seems that this prevents the normal ovulation spike and an egg is not released. This failure of the normal mechanism can apparently be a cause of irregular menstruation.
It is not clear if the higher insulin level causes PCOS or these are concurrent conditions, however lowering insulin levels through diet seems to help. I have read of women who have failed to get pregnant despite multiple IVF treatments, who become pregnant after a period of 2-3 months on a low carbohydrate diet.
Males are not exempt from these impacts as well. Erectile disfunction (ED) is one symptom of excess insulin in the body. Again this can be a result of a diet that is high in sugars and carbohydrates and can also be impacted by the habit of snacking all day. Regular snacking including sugary drinks, prevents the body from achieving a daily period of low insulin when other functions such as autophagy can occur. If you are male and never wake with an erection after dreaming then you should see this as a warning sign.
Nutrition can also impact male fertility with a report outlined below which links a low level of taurine with lower male fertility. Taurine can be obtained from meat, shellfish, chicken, tuna, and dairy in your diet. Dr. Paul Saladino has produced an excellent YouTube video on this topic which I have referenced here.
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