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Is inflammation a cause of infertility? Expert on tips to improve fertility

The issue of infertility is remarkably prevalent where up to 186 million individuals are impacted globally; 27.5 million are in India alone as quoted by Inito and in many circumstances, whether in a woman, a man or both spouses, a thorough medical examination can identify important contributory factors that may benefit from treatments and may need to be treated with assisted reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilisation (IVF). However, in a significant number of cases, no reason for infertility is identified.

A recent study done by The Nutrients, a journal by MDPI published in Harvard Medical School reveals that some of those cases may be related to inflammation. If so, will an anti-inflammatory diet or lifestyle helps in boosting fertility? Numerous diseases, including cancer, stroke, and cardiovascular disease, have been related to chronic inflammation.

Despite the fact that its significance in infertility is not entirely known, some research suggests a connection:

· Inflammatory diseases like infection, endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome increase the chance of infertility.

· Systemic (body-wide) inflammation may have an impact on the cervix, uterus, and placenta, affecting fertility.

· IVF-assisted infertile women who followed to an anti-inflammatory diet had greater pregnancy success rates than those who did not.

Could an anti-inflammatory diet improve fertility?

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Shobha Gupta, Medical Director and Infertility Specialist from Mother’s Lap IVF Centre in New Delhi, said that it is a real possibility. She continued by saying that decade ago, experts noticed that women who followed a fertility diet were more likely to ovulate frequently and become pregnant.

An analysis of several research published in 2022’s Nutrients reveals that adopting an anti-inflammatory diet may help those who are having trouble getting pregnant. Despite the fact that the trials’ diets were created years apart, they have many things in common.

Although the specific mechanism is unclear, an anti-inflammatory diet may boost the success rates of assisted reproductive techniques like IVF and improve male sperm quality. The researchers indicated that adopting a healthier diet may even lessen the requirement for invasive, time-consuming, and expensive fertility procedures.

More high-quality research is required to support this, though, as the quality of the studies and the consistency of the findings differed. Talking about whether adopting an anti-inflammatory way of living will improve fertility, Dr Shobha Gupta said, “Improved heart health is only one of the numerous advantages of adopting an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, which also includes eating a plant-based diet like the Mediterranean diet.”

Despite the fascinating nature of new studies, there is little proof that an anti-inflammation strategy can increase fertility. It’s unclear whether this is a direct result of less inflammation but there is little to no danger involved in this strategy and it can also supposedly combat disease, according to an abundance of convincing data.

Suggesting an anti-inflammatory lifestyle or way of living, the doctor recommended:

· Adopt a diet that avoids red meat, heavily processed foods, and saturated fats while promoting plant-based meals, whole grains, and healthy fats like olive oil.

· Quit vaping or smoking

· Shed extra pounds

· Engage in some exercise

· Get adequate rest

· Manage inflammatory disorders including allergies or rheumatoid arthritis

· Refrain from consuming alcohol excessively

· Manage stress

Dr Shobha Gupta concluded, “It’s possible that an anti-inflammatory diet or way of living can aid in infertility. Inflammation may play a significant and unrecognized role in infertility. However, in order to prove this, we need further proof. Until we learn more, it makes sense to take steps to enhance your general health and perhaps lessen chronic inflammation.”

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