In the UK, 1 in 6 couples will face fertility challenges in their life, and 71% of young people don’t understand how their lifestyle can impact on this. So, as part of Fertility Week, Unlimited Wellbeing Clinical Lead, Amelia Davies says that it is vital that awareness is made of how various factors, such as having a healthier diet, can potentially affect fertility in both men and women.
It could be argued that if young people are educated earlier on about the benefits of leading a healthier lifestyle, it might increase their chances of conceiving later on. A recent briefing paper released by the Government ‘Obesity Statistics’ (2019) revealed that obesity levels in adults have risen since 1993 from 15% to 29%. It also highlighted that one of the health risks associated with obesity is menstrual disorders. However, this is not a new finding as Chavarro et al. (2000) also previously stated that dietary input, exercise and other factors have a negative impact on female fertility. More specifically diets lacking vital nutrients leading to a person becoming dangerously underweight or obese, will likely affect how well the ovaries function and increase the chance of infertility (Silvestris et al. 2018).
Evidence has also suggested that various nutrients in the diet have an impact on men’s fertility too. Chavarro et al. (2000) stated that by having a healthier diet which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry and seafood can result in more, and better quality semen. Other studies have also shown how specific vitamins have been linked with fertility such as Vitamin D which could be important for fertility in both men and women (Lerchbaum and Obermayer-Pietsch, 2012).
Couples wishing to start a family in the near future might want to consider making some dietary and lifestyle changes. Fertility and hormone tests can also be considered as they could highlight any issues before trying for a family. Infertility not only affects 1 in 6 couples, it can also impact on their mental health and wellbeing, so it is important that awareness is spread to help those experiencing these challenges.
Amelia Davies is a Registered Nurse with a keen interest in health promotion and education. She graduated from University of Nottingham in 2015 having achieved a Bachelor of Science degree in adult health nursing. She also holds a postgraduate certificate in health and social care and joined Unlimited Wellbeing earlier this year having previously worked within both the NHS and private sector.
Unlimited Wellbeing (www.unlimitedwellbeing.co.uk) are a CQC registered health & wellbeing provider serving the needs of individuals, organisations and communities throughout the UK.
Chavarro, J. E., Rich-Edwards, J. W., Rosner, B. A. and Willet W.E (2007) Diet and lifestyle and polycystic ovary syndrome. Obstet Gynecol 110: pp.1050-1058.
Fertility network UK (Undated) #YouAreNotAlone Fertility Week 28 Oct – 3 Nov 2019. [Online]. Available at: https://fertilitynetworkuk.org/fertility-week/ [Accessed 26 October 2019].
House of Commons Library (2019) Briefing Paper: Obesity Statistics 3336. London.
Lerchbaum, E. and B. Obermayer-Piestsch (2012) Vitamin D and fertility: a systematic review. European Journal of Endocrinology 166: pp. 765-778
Silvestris, E., Giovanni D. P., Raffaele, R. and Loverro, G. (2018) Obesity as disruptor of the female fertility. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 16 (22): pp. 1-13.Back to blog