IVF Babble

Is a good breakfast important for fertility?

Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)

According to recent research, eating a nutritious breakfast can help women who are trying to conceive. Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University found that consuming a large breakfast boosts fertility in women who have irregular periods.

What did the study investigate?

The study set out to understand if meal- times have an impact on the health of a woman with irregular periods due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Currently, PCOS affects 6 to 10 percent of women. The researchers followed 60 women aged 25 to 39 over a 12-week period. Each of the women suffered from PCOS and had a body mass index (BMI) of less than 23. From there, researchers led by Professor Oren Froy, Professor Daniela Jocabovitz and Dr. Julio Weinstein divided the women into two groups; each was allowed to consume 1,800 calories a day. The only difference between the two groups was the time of day at which the women consumed their biggest meal. 30 of the women ate their biggest meal at breakfast while the remaining 30 ate their biggest meal at dinner.

The study concluded:

Women who ate their biggest meal at breakfast had decreased glucose and insulin levels (down by 8 percent), compared to the dinner group who showed levels that remained virtually the unchanged. Also in the breakfast group, researchers noted that testosterone levels were down by nearly 50 percent. But the most interesting was that women were ovulating at a much higher rate when they had their biggest meal at breakfast.

Of the findings, Froy said that the research “clearly demonstrates that indeed the amount of calories we consume daily is very important, but the timing as to when we consume them is even more important.”

Want to read more?

Daniela Jakubowicz, Maayan Barnea, Julio Wainstein, Oren Froy. Effects of caloric intake timing on insulin resistance and hyperandrogenism in lean women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Clinical Science, 2013; 125 (9): 423 DOI: 10.1042/CS20130071

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