By Sue Bedford MSc (Nutritional Therapy)
The typical intake of omega-6 in western countries is high, and the ratio of the omega-6 vs omega-3 fatty acids in the UK are now thought to be greater than 10:1 and even as high as 25:1 in some adult diets. In years gone by, the omega-6: omega-3 ratio dietary intake of primitive man was closer to 1:1.
There are three main omega 3 fatty acids
These are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
When it comes to fertility, Omega-3 fatty acids are important in ovulation, male sperm count/motility and DNA, conception and embryo development.
So how can omega 3 help with female fertility?
• Increases the blood flow to the uterus
• Regulate monthly cycles and reducing inflammation
• During pregnancy- brain and retina development
• Helps to prevent pre-eclampsia and postnatal depression
For male fertility, Omega 3 is equally as important
• Sperm membrane composition and integrity
• Increase sperm count
• Improve motility and morphology
• Reduce damage to sperm DNA
So what are the foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids?
• Oily fish – anchovies, herring, sardines, salmon, trout, and mackerel
• Fresh basil
• Leafy dark green vegetables, such as spinach