swordfish

Your diet and menopause

Diet, vitamins and menopause: Princeton IVF blog
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Can what you eat affect when you go into menopause?

New research from the UK suggests that it might.

They followed 914 women through menopause and sent them questionnaires about their diets, and what they found was interesting:

  • Fatty and oily fish delayed the age of menopause by 3.3 years for each daily portion

  • Fresh legumes delayed onset of menopause by 0.9 years for each daily portion

  • Refined pastas and rice was accelerated the age of menopause 1.5 years for each daily portion

They also asked these women about daily vitamin intake:

  • Vitamin B6 delayed menopause by 0.6 years

  • Zinc delayed menopause by 0.3 years per daily portion

Does this mean that making the right dietary choices can affect when one will go through menopause?

Perhaps, but not necessarily. Women who eat healthier may also live healthier lifestyles which could contribute to this as well.

Does this mean that these dietary choices can effect how long a woman will remain fertile?

While it certainly makes sense that dietary changes which delay when a woman runs out eggs should affect the quality of the ones that are left, this research does not address that issue.

Fishing for a baby

Fish and fertility: Princeton IVF blog
Eating more fish may help your chances of having a baby.

Can eating more fish make you more fertile?

It might actually help your chances of of having a baby, according to researchers at Harvard

What is the connection between fish intake and fertility?

The group at Harvard looked at women who were trying to get pregnant, how much fish they consumed and how long it took them to get pregnant. They found that women with regular fish intake were more likely to get pregnant and more likely to be sexually intimate with their partners.

How much fish intake is necessary to get this benefit?

The fertility benefit was seen with as little as 2 servings of fish a week.

Does a fish-rich diet make your more fertile.

This study shows the women who eat more fish are more likely to achieve pregnancy sooner, but one should not necessarily assume that their dietary choices directly caused their higher fertility. Causation is certainly likely, but this study was not designed to prove it.

Why would fish intake improve a couples fertility?

There are good reasons to believe that eating fish might make it easier to get pregnant. Fish are very high in omega 3 oils which have been shown in multiple studies to be beneficial in both promoting better pregnancy outcomes and better outcomes with in vitro fertilization (IVF). Other nutrients found in fish and other seafood such as Zinc may also explain the fertility benefits of fish.

What about the mercury?

That is the big unknown. Many large ocean fish such as swordfish, shark, tuna and tilefish have been shown to contain accumulate large amounts of environmental toxins such as mercury. The FDA recommends limiting these kinds of fish when pregnant over these concerns. It is unknown whether that benefits of regular fish intake offsets the risks of exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals. So, it is recommended for women who are pregnant or attempting pregnancy to minimize large ocean fish in their diet.