In a breakthrough study published in Reproductive Biomedicine Online, researchers reveal that adopting a Mediterranean diet could be a game-changer in improving outcomes for women undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) compared to a Western diet. The study, led by Professor Hart, emphasises the simplicity and effectiveness of this dietary approach, showcasing positive impacts on both embryo development and pregnancy outcomes.
The research addresses the common practice of incorporating adjuvant therapies into IVF treatments, especially for women who have faced unsuccessful attempts in the past. Surprisingly, the study found inconsistent and often poor-quality evidence regarding the efficacy of nine commonly-used nutritional supplements. Instead, the researchers observed a much stronger case for the Mediterranean diet, even with a short six-week intervention program.
The key elements of the Mediterranean diet linked to favourable outcomes include high intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, and monounsaturated or polyunsaturated oils, coupled with limited consumption of highly processed foods. Omega-3 fatty acids, renowned for their health benefits, emerged as particularly promising, with evidence suggesting improvements in IVF clinical outcomes and embryo quality.
While various nutritional supplements like dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10), melatonin, and others were reviewed as potential adjuvants for poor IVF response, the Mediterranean diet consistently stood out as a reliable and accessible approach.
Notably, DHEA and CoQ10 showed more benefits than control therapies, providing hope for individuals with a history of unsuccessful IVF attempts. Melatonin also exhibited potential benefits, though further research is needed to identify specific patient groups and optimal dosage.
This study emphasises the practicality and holistic advantages of embracing a Mediterranean lifestyle, offering renewed hope and a straightforward dietary strategy for couples navigating the challenges of infertility and IVF treatments.