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[Nutrition and fertility]
Abstract and Figures
There is a growing body of evidence that nutritional habits may have a significant effect on both male and female fertility. Maintenance of normal body mass may be effective in the prevention of infertility resulting from ovulatory disorders. Underweight and, to a larger degree, overweight and/or obesity, are related to the enhanced risk of infertility. Insulin resistance is an important pathogenic mechanism that may impair ovulation. Adequate intake of monounsaturated fatty acids, derived mainly from vegetable fats, as well as avoidance of trans isomers of unsaturated fatty acids which are present in industrially produced cakes and sweets, crisps, fast-foods, powdered soups and hard margarines, may be effective in the prevention of infertility in females. Choice of plant rather than animal sources of proteins, decrease in glycemic load of the diet, use of dietary supplements containing iron and folic acid, could also be beneficial. Avoidance of vitamin B12 deficiency and its supplementation seem to be important in the prevention of early miscarriages. Sufficient intake of antioxidants also promotes female reproductive functions. Free radical processes play an important role in the development of male factor infertility. It was shown that proper intake or supplementation with antioxidants may be effective in its prevention and treatment. Such nutrients as zinc, selenium and folic acid act beneficially on sperm quality. A well-balanced diet seems to play an important role in the prevention of infertility in both sexes.
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