Answer from: Xanthi Maragkoudaki, MSc, ANutr, PhD
Deficiency of specific nutrients can cause infertility and all affect fertility actually or and also nutritional deficiency and under nutrition can affect fertility in general. It has been documented a lot that when we are not getting enough nutrients in our diet then we may end up in a difficult position when we’re trying to conceive.
Answer from: Melanie Brown, MSc
That’s a very good question. Actually because there are so many variables in fertility and you can’t just say “oh if you eat beef burgers, burgers and chips all day you’re going to be infertile” because that it isn’t really how it works but certainly we know that if people are deficient in folate. Very interesting research, I think, it was in the Gambia showed that in the rainy season, conception happened very naturally within the tribes that lived in the Gambia. This was beginning of 20th century research and in the dry season, it didn’t. Now that was put down to folate. Folate is in green leafy vegetables so, it’s not only that the pregnancy was affected by lack of folate but they believed that women, it caused them to become infertile to have this particular diet and probably also men because folate is really important for sperm so, definitely things like zinc are very important but also new research has shown that certainly very poor quality diets. There’s a whole range of foods – now called ultra processed foods, it’s a kind of new category of foods. Basically, if you read the ingredients of an ultra processed food and you have absolutely no idea what’s in it or how to make it in your own kitchen, then it’s ultra processed and these foods really do seem to affect sperm quality particularly. Actually, it’s easier to see what goes on with sperm actually than it is with eggs. One can assume that by eating a diet very high in processed and ultra processed foods, industrial cooking oils, deep fried things you damage your eggs and sperm early on in life so, having a good diet is pretty important.