Here’s another fascinating study for women with PCOS; 1500 mg of the potent antioxidant from red wine can reduce testosterone levels by nearly 25%. This can not only improve egg quality and pregnancy rates but also reduce other symptoms of PCOS as well!
When couples are having difficulty conceiving, studies show that at least 1/3 of the time, there is a contributing male factor. Yet today the bulk of our tests and treatments are directed toward women. For couples that already know that they are dealing with a sperm problem, there are very few good recommendations on what they can do at home to improve their outcome; until now.
Many studies have found that dietary fats can impact pregnancy outcome [r1] in women. More recent data has even helped differentiate that some fats can improve fertility[r2] . But very little of the nutritional intervention has been directed toward men.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are critical for sperm function and production. These fats are necessary to make healthy sperm as well to optimize their ability to swim. They are called essential fatty acids because you need to consume them in the foods that you eat so that your body can use them to manufacture hormones and other substances. Unfortunately, the typical foods that most of us consume don’t contain them. Instead, many of us eat foods that contain unhealthy fats; a situation that worsens the imbalance between good fats and bad fats.
Now that we know male fertility is improved with PUFA’s, the challenge is getting men to change their diet or take a supplement. Nutritionists have been encouraging men to increase their consumption of fish, flax seed and other foods with healthy oils but only with limited success. Now a group of researchers has found a practical solution[r3] . They had a group of men begin eating 75 grams of walnuts per day. After only 12 weeks they demonstrated an improvement in sperm count, better sperm motility and increased sperm vitality. Better still, they did not experience any increase in body weight or body mass index proving that this recommendation is practical with no identifiable drawbacks. In fact, eating walnuts has also been shown to be heart healthy [r4] and may reduce the risk of prostate problems [r5] as well. So, it’s time for men to “go (Wal)nuts!”
Robert Greene, MD, FACOG
CNY Fertility Center
e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Call our toll-free number at 800.539.9870 or request a consult here.
May 1, 2010 Blog Post
Do you have endometriosis or problems related to painful menstrual cycles? There is a supplement that could relieve your symptoms and improve your fertility.
Many women with endometriosis continue to have pelvic pain even after surgical removal of all their lesions. In order to provide relief, many healthcare providers have used hormone suppressing agents (BioLimited hormones or BioAntagonists) like Lupron or Zoladex. However these treatments have not been shown to improve pregnancy rates and can delay your ability to become pregnant. Recently, a third option has been investigated: pine bark extract.
A certain type of pine tree is known to have bark that contains a potent antioxidant/anti-inflammatory called pycnogenol. In 2007, a large study [G1] randomly assigned women with endometriosis to take either a 30 mg capsule, twice a day of a pine bark extract or to take Lupron. In only four weeks, all women experienced a reduction in their symptoms. Women using the herbal extract reported that pain was reduced by about 80% and cramping by about 75%, where were the same as those on Lupron. But the women on the extract continued to have regular menstrual cycles, whereas those on Lupron didn’t, and those on the extract did not experience the menopausal side effects of Lupron. What’s more, at least 5 women on the pine bark extract became pregnant. Finally, women on Lupron had a rebound return of symptoms when they went off the drug, whereas pine bark extract had no such effect. Talk to your doctor about whether you should consider taking this herbal remedy if you’re in pain.
This is excerpt from my book PERFECT HORMONE BALANCE FOR FERTILITY[G2] (p. 299). A follow up study[G3] on this same compound found that women with painful menstrual cycles also experienced an improvement in their symptoms on pine bark extract even if they did not have a history of endometriosis. If you’d like to learn more about endometriosis as well as other diet and lifestyle tips on reducing the impact of this upon your fertility you’ll find more evidence-based suggestions in my book.