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It is important for women to take extra care of themselves physically and mentally before they plan to become pregnant.
This, of course, includes not only eating plenty of healthy foods (including omega-3 fats) while avoiding dangerous ones (fish, coffee, and alcohol, for instance), but also maintaining your ideal weight.
If your body weight is too high, your body may naturally try to resist pregnancy until you have reached a healthier weight. I believe that the primary reason obesity is such a major health risk is that it is typically associated with elevated insulin and leptin levels.
However, obesity is not only a risk during conception, it’s a risk during pregnancy -- and a pretty steep one at that.
If you are already overweight when you become pregnant, you should also realize that you may not need to gain as much weight during your pregnancy as you think. No matter how you look at it, obesity will wreak havoc on your health, including making conception and pregnancy more difficult. Three times the chance of being born with omphalocele, a defect in which intestines or other abdominal organs protrude through the navel. So it is really to your advantage, and your child’s, to lose weight if you need to before you become pregnant.
If you fail to regularly eat animal foods (eggs, meat, fish and seafood) you will become deficient in vitamin B12 because plant food sources contain no B12. Elevated blood concentrations of homocysteine result primarily from too little vitamin B12. Healthy egg cells in women and healthy sperm cells in men are absolutely essential requirements for getting pregnant, staying pregnant and producing normal embryos, vigorous infants and healthy children. It is becoming increasingly evident that the low vitamin B12, B6 and folate status responsible for elevated homocysteine is toxic to both sperm and egg cells and may represent a major, previously un-recognized risk factor for infertility. If we fast forward to the 21st century, in the past five years similar nutritional patterns have been discovered in western populations. One of the most frequent nutritional shortcomings of vegetarian and vegan diets is that they fall short of recommended intakes for zinc. Based upon this information, you might expect blood concentrations of zinc to be lower in vegetarians than meat eaters. Question: Then how come fertility is so high in a country like India where in many parts 50% population is completely vegetarian? Compared with normal weight women, women with a BMI of 35 had a 26 percent lower chance of getting pregnant naturally, while women with a BMI of 40 had a 43 percent lower chance.The reduced rate of conception may be due to the hormone leptin, which regulates appetite and energy expenditure. A healthy body that is capable of supporting a growing fetus is really the best gift you can give your new baby.
These elevated levels can devastate your physiology and are the last thing you want to expose a developing fetus to. But overweight women really only need to gain 15 to 25 pounds and obese women no more than 15 pounds.
My nutrition plan is packed with diet, lifestyle and emotional health tips to help you achieve your ideal, healthy weight, and give your new baby the best possible start to life. Here’s the information you may want to become acquainted with, particularly if you have avoided meats and fish and have previously focused upon whole grain cereals, legumes and processed foods in your diet.
Further plant foods do not contain the specific types of vitamin B6 which are readily absorbable in the human gut. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can elevate blood levels of homocysteine and cause numerous adverse health problems in pregnant women, their unborn fetuses and nursing infants.
More than 30 years ago, at least one group of researchers pointed out that Indian vegetarian men maintained lower vitamin B12 concentrations in their sperm than non-vegetarians and attributed these values to their vegetarian diet. In a recent (2009) study of 172 men and 223 women who were unable to conceive, 36 % of men and 23 % of women had vitamin B12 deficiencies. A total of five studies have compared the incidence of menstrual irregularities between vegetarians and meat eaters. Pirke and researchers at the University of Trier in Germany randomly divided 18 young women with normal menstrual periods into either vegetarian or non-vegetarian diet groups. Because of their low zinc content and bioavailability, long term vegetarian diets almost always cause zinc deficiencies.
There are no known risks to adopting The Paleo Diet, and in fact, regular consumption of meat, seafood and fresh fruit and vegetables at the expense of cereals, dairy and processed foods will prevent vitamin B12 and folate deficiencies. Bissoli L, Di Francesco V, Ballarin A, Mandragona R, Trespidi R, Brocco G, Caruso B, Bosello O, Zamboni M. Boxmeer JC, Smit M, Weber RF, Lindemans J, Romijn JC, Eijkemans MJ, Macklon NS, Steegers-Theunissen RP. Boxmeer JC, Brouns RM, Lindemans J, Steegers EA, Martini E, Macklon NS, Steegers-Theunissen RP. Boxmeer JC, Smit M, Utomo E, Romijn JC, Eijkemans MJ, Lindemans J, Laven JS, Macklon NS, Steegers EA, Steegers-Theunissen RP. Bucciarelli P, Martini G, Martinelli I, Ceccarelli E, Gennari L, Bader R, Valenti R, Franci B, Nuti R, Mannucci PM. Campbell-Brown M, Ward RJ, Haines AP, North WR, Abraham R, McFadyen IR, Turnlund JR, King JC. Cappuccio FP, Bell R, Perry IJ, Gilg J, Ueland PM, Refsum H, Sagnella GA, Jeffery S, Cook DG.
Clarke R, Sherliker P, Hin H, Nexo E, Hvas AM, Schneede J, Birks J, Ueland PM,Emmens K, Scott JM, Molloy AM, Evans JG.
Herrmann M, Widmann T, Colaianni G, Colucci S, Zallone A, Herrmann W.Increased osteoclast activity in the presence of increased homocysteine concentrations. Herrmann M, Peter Schmidt J, Umanskaya N, Wagner A, Taban-Shomal O, Widmann T, Colaianni G, Wildemann B, Herrmann W. Huang YC, Chang SJ, Chiu YT, Chang HH, Cheng CH.The status of plasma homocysteine and related B-vitamins in healthy young vegetarians and nonvegetarians. Koebnick C, Hoffmann I, Dagnelie PC, Heins UA, Wickramasinghe SN, Ratnayaka ID, Gruendel S, Lindemans J, Leitzmann C.
Krivosikova Z, Krajcovicova-Kudlackova M, Spustova V, Stefikova K, Valachovicova M, Blazicek P, Nemcova T. Kumar J, Garg G, Sundaramoorthy E, Prasad PV, Karthikeyan G, Ramakrishnan L, Ghosh S, Sengupta S.

Misra A, Vikram NK, Pandey RM, Dwivedi M, Ahmad FU, Luthra K, Jain K, Khanna N, Devi JR, Sharma R, Guleria R.
Refsum H, Yajnik CS, Gadkari M, Schneede J, Vollset SE, Orning L, Guttormsen AB, Joglekar A, Sayyad MG, Ulvik A, Ueland PM. Srikumar TS, Johansson GK, Ockerman PA, Gustafsson JA, Akesson B.Trace element status in healthy subjects switching from a mixed to a lactovegetarian diet for 12 mo.
Taneja S, Bhandari N, Strand TA, Sommerfelt H, Refsum H, Ueland PM, Schneede J, Bahl R, Bhan MK. Verkleij-Hagoort AC, Verlinde M, Ursem NT, Lindemans J, Helbing WA, Ottenkamp J, Siebel FM, Gittenberger-de Groot AC, de Jonge R, Bartelings MM, Steegers EA, Steegers-Theunissen RP.
Loren Cordain is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.
For approval, comments need to be relevant to the article and free of profanities and personal attacks. It’s indeed our food habit that keeps us healthier and keeps away many unwanted physical irregularities. Obese women may have disturbed hormone levels, which decrease their chances of successful fertilization, researchers said.It’s already known that obesity disrupts ovulation. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. Accordingly, diets devoid of or lacking in animal proteins, will invariably be deficient in vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. When adequate stores of these B vitamins are present from nutritious foods in our diet (e.g.
In addition to these unfavorable effects, a diet deficient or marginal in vitamins B12, B6 and folate can severely reduce your chances for successful fertilization and conception. Additionally, a number of these earlier studies hinted that vitamin B12 supplementation could improve sperm function and vigor and even boost male fertility. Almost 40 % of the infertile men had abnormal semen that was directly related to their vitamin B12 deficiencies. Four out of these five studies demonstrated significantly higher rates of menstrual complications in vegetarians.
After six weeks, 7 of the 9 women assigned to the vegetarian diet stopped ovulating, whereas only a single woman in the meat eating group experienced this problem.
Numerous epidemiological studies have shown that infertile men had poor sperm counts that were associated with reduced zinc levels in their semen. In turn these essential vitamins will ensure that your blood levels of homocysteine will return to normal – effectively reducing your risk for cardiovascular, neurological, bone and reproductive diseases. Homocysteine concentrations in follicular fluid are associated with poor oocyte and embryo qualities in polycystic ovary syndrome patients undergoing assisted reproduction. International estimates of infertility prevalence and treatment-seeking: potential need and demand for infertility medical care. Seminal plasma cobalamin significantly correlates with sperm concentration in men undergoing IVF or ICSI procedures. Preconception folic acid treatment affects the microenvironment of the maturing oocyte in humans. Preventive zinc supplementation among infants, preschoolers, and older prepubertal children. The relationship between plasma homocysteine levels and bone mineral density in post-menopausal women. Homocysteine levels in men and women of different ethnic and cultural background living in England.
Detection of vitamin B12 deficiency in older people by measuring vitamin B12 or the active fraction of vitamin B12, holotranscobalamin.
EPIC-Oxford: lifestyle characteristics and nutrient intakes in a cohort of 33 883 meat-eaters and 31 546 non meat-eaters in the UK. Low bone mineral density and bone mineral content are associated with low cobalamin status in adolescents. Effect of vitamin B12 deficiency on neurodevelopment in infants: current knowledge and possible mechanisms. Homocysteine, glutathione and related thiols affect fertility parameters in the (sub)fertile couple. Does folic acid and zinc sulphate intervention affect endocrine parameters and sperm characteristics in men? Alterations in zinc absorption and salivary sediment zinc after a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet. Serum concentrations of vitamin B12 and folate in British male omnivores, vegetarians and vegans: results from a cross-sectional analysis of the EPIC-Oxford cohort study.
Vitamin B-6 status indicators decrease in women consuming a diet high in pyridoxine glucoside.
Functional vitamin B12 deficiency and determination of holotranscobalamin in populations at risk. Vitamin B-12 status, particularly holotranscobalamin II and methylmalonic acid concentrations, and hyperhomocysteinemia in vegetarians. The role of hyperhomocysteinemia as well as folate, vitamin B(6) and B(12) deficiencies in osteoporosis: a systematic review. Homocysteine level and coronary heart disease incidence: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Zinc absorption, mineral balance, and blood lipids in women consuming controlled lactoovovegetarian and omnivorous diets for 8 wk. Nonheme-iron absorption, fecal ferritin excretion, and blood indexes of iron status in women consuming controlled lactoovovegetarian diets for 8 wk.
Vitamin B12 and folic acid supplementation and plasma total homocysteine concentrations in pregnant Indian women with low B12 and high folate status.
The association between high plasma homocysteine levels and lower bone mineral density in Slovak women: the impact of vegetarian diet. Effects of folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies during pregnancy on fetal, infant, and child development. Maternal vitamin B12 status and risk of neural tube defects in a population with high neural tube defect prevalence and no folic Acid fortification.

Hyperhomocysteinemia and elevated methylmalonic acid indicate a high prevalence of cobalamin deficiency in Asian Indians. In vitamin B12 deficiency, higher serum folate is associated with increased total homocysteine and methylmalonic acid concentrations.
Mutation C677T in the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene is associated with male infertility in an Indian population. Cobalamin and folate status in infants and young children in a low-to-middle income community in India. Homocysteine, vitamin B12, folate and cognitive functions: a systematic and critical review of the literature.
Dietary intake of vitamin B6 and concentration of vitamin B6 in blood samples of German vegans. Effects of folic acid and zinc sulfate on male factor subfertility: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. His research emphasis over the past 20 years has focused upon the evolutionary and anthropological basis for diet, health and well being in modern humans. At the same time, it’s always necessary that we know how good food affects our body and in fact helps in managing many conditions like fertility!
This new study suggests that obese women may also suffer from lower pregnancy rates than women of normal weight. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.
Deficiencies or insufficiencies in these vitamins ultimately increase the level of homocysteine in our blood. Other recent studies in men show that low dietary folate and vitamin B12 are associated with high blood concentrations of homocysteine that likely underlie abnormal sperm function. Let’s take a look at the only randomized controlled trial investigating vegetarian diets on menstrual health. The results of this experiment are shocking – within only six weeks of consuming a vegetarian diet, 78% of healthy, normally cycling women ceased ovulating.
Most zinc finds its way into the interior of cells and does not accumulate in the liquid portion (plasma) of blood. Virtually every well controlled experimental study ever conducted shows that men put on zinc deficient diets ended up with reduced sperm counts, impaired sperm health and often depressed blood testosterone levels. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. However, when B12 is lacking or deficient, as it almost always is in vegetarian and vegan diets, then homocysteine builds up in our bloodstream and literally infiltrates nearly every cell in our bodies.
On the flip side of the equation, women with compromised dietary B12 and folate intakes frequently have elevated blood levels of homocysteine which prevent them from becoming pregnant. The take home message is this: if you are trying to get pregnant, one of your best strategies is to avoid vegetarian diets. Consequently, unless scientists examine zinc concentrations within cells, readings obtained in blood plasma frequently do not accurately reflect body stores of this essential mineral. The good news is that these deleterious changes in male reproductive function can be reversed if zinc rich diets (e.g.
Normalization of hyperhomocysteinemia with vitamin B(12) and reduction of platelet aggregation with n-3 fatty acids. Cordain’s scientific publications have examined the nutritional characteristics of worldwide hunter-gatherer diets as well as the nutrient composition of wild plant and animal foods consumed by foraging humans.
We are not completely sure how these blood chemistry changes impede successful pregnancies in women, but tissue studies suggest that egg cells infiltrated by homocysteine and deficient in vitamin B12 and folate make them fragile and unable to continue with a normal pregnancy once fertilized. In virtually every study of vegetarians which measured zinc levels inside various cells (red blood cells, hair cells and skin cells in saliva), plant based diets caused zinc deficiencies.
He is the world’s leading expert on Paleolithic diets and has lectured extensively on the Paleolithic nutrition worldwide. In one study, 12 meat eating women were put on a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, and after only 22 days Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. Freeland-Graves and co-workers reported that zinc concentrations in the women’s salivary cells plunged by 27%. Steegers-Theunissen’s research group in the Netherlands showed dramatic improvements in the reproductive health of 103 sub-fertile men when zinc and folic acid were supplemented.
If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content. More importantly, with zinc it’s not just how much is present in your food, but how much is actually absorbed in your body. Following the six month supplementation program, sperm counts increased significantly in the sub-fertile men while sperm abnormalities declined by 4 %. Although dietary zinc intakes in vegetarian diets sometimes appear to be adequate on paper – in the body they actually result in deficiencies because most of plant based zinc is bound to phytate and therefore unavailable for absorption. Srikumar and colleagues from a longer term experiment in which 20 meat eating men and women adopted a lactovegetarian diet for an entire year. A similar study of 14 infertile men from India also indicated that zinc supplementation increased sperm health, sperm counts and shortly thereafter resulted in three successful conceptions by these men’s wives.
Phytate is an antinutrient found in whole grains, beans, soy and other legumes that prevents normal assimilation of many minerals. In this study, both hair cells and blood levels of zinc sharply declined and remained low throughout the 12 month experiment. Laboratory experiments show that vegetarians only absorb about half as much zinc as meat eaters because zinc from animal food is much better assimilated than from plant foods.

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