Figuring Out Fertility Gators key to human reproduction - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Figuring Out Fertility Gators key to human reproduction

Figuring Out Fertility Gators key to human reproduction

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Alligators and humans are more alike than most people realize, according to a leading researcher at Hollings Marine Lab at Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Louis Guillette says South Carolina's alligators are helping his Charleston-based research team investigate the causes of infertility in humans.

"Early on we were focused on pesticides then we started looking at other kinds of chemicals that might be present and we were able to find a whole array of chemicals that were found in personal care products." Dr Guillette says.

The world renowned researcher says the reptiles ovaries are identical at the gene to humans plus alligators and humans share many common reproductive diseases.

Dr. Guillette is partnering with endocrinologists at Coastal Fertility Specialists in Mount Pleasant.  The doctors and researchers are studying the way that various chemicals, such as phthalates – chemical stabilizers common in hand creams, makeup and other toiletries – adversely affect women and their unborn children.

"We know that the environment is associated with a series of diseases that we are seeing and that the environment is a component. I think there is a some pretty good evidence in fact some very strong evidence." Dr. Guillette says.

Endocrinologists also  reveals the specific findings from Harvard study of a "fertility diet" which shows lifestyle and diet changes that may dramatically improve a woman's chances of conceiving.

During an eight-year Nurses' Health Study at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, researchers reviewed the diets of more than 18, 555 women. They concluded that the following dietary habits were part of a "fertility diet".

  • Eat a higher monounsaturated to trans fat ratio. Getting just 2% of calorie intake from trans fats rather than from omega-6 fatty acids was associated with an increase in the risk of ovulatory infertility. Trans fats, which are found in processed foods like doughnuts, pastries, margarine and cookies, are thought to disrupt the hormonal pathway. Likewise, vegetables, fruits and whole grains have a beneficial effect on ovulation.
  • Eat a high percentage of vegetable protein rather than animal protein. Replacing animal protein such as red meat with vegetable protein may reduce the risk of ovulatory infertility. Healthy vegetable protein includes sources such as beans, lentils, soy products, nuts and seeds.
  • Eat carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index. Simple carbs like potatoes, white bread or pasta, and sugary drinks may boost the chances of ovulatory infertility. Eating slowly digested complex carbs that are high in fiber may improve fertility. These complex carbs are low on the glycemic index (GI), a numerical system that ranks carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100, according to the effect on blood glucose (sugar) levels.
  • Eat high-fat dairy products instead of low-fat dairy. The fertility diet recommends drinking one glass of full-fat milk (or yogurt or ice cream) daily. In the Harvard study, the high-fat dairy foods were found to possibly decrease the risk of anovulatory infertility.
  • Eat foods high in iron and take a supplement with folic acid. The fertility diet study revealed that women who ate fruits, vegetables, or beans high in iron or took iron supplements were more likely to get pregnant.

"If a patient is trying to conceive or going through fertility treatments, we highly recommend a diet of fruits, vegetables and lean meats," says Dr. John Schnorr, Reproductive Endocrinologist at Coastal Fertility Specialists. "This appears to have a very positive impact on their treatment."

Researchers believe that staying on a "fertility diet" pattern is linked in some way with a lower risk of ovulatory disorder infertility. They hypothesize that the fertility diet is favorable to balanced levels of glucose and insulin sensitivity -- both factors that play a role in ovulatory function. 

During an eight-year Nurses' Health Study at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, researchers reviewed the diets of more than 18, 555 women. They concluded that the following dietary habits were part of a "fertility diet".

  • Eat a higher monounsaturated to trans fat ratio. Getting just 2% of calorie intake from trans fats rather than from omega-6 fatty acids was associated with an increase in the risk of ovulatory infertility. Trans fats, which are found in processed foods like doughnuts, pastries, margarine and cookies, are thought to disrupt the hormonal pathway. Likewise, vegetables, fruits and whole grains have a beneficial effect on ovulation.
  • Eat a high percentage of vegetable protein rather than animal protein. Replacing animal protein such as red meat with vegetable protein may reduce the risk of ovulatory infertility. Healthy vegetable protein includes sources such as beans, lentils, soy products, nuts and seeds.
  • Eat carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index. Simple carbs like potatoes, white bread or pasta, and sugary drinks may boost the chances of ovulatory infertility. Eating slowly digested complex carbs that are high in fiber may improve fertility. These complex carbs are low on the glycemic index (GI), a numerical system that ranks carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100, according to the effect on blood glucose (sugar) levels.
  • Eat high-fat dairy products instead of low-fat dairy. The fertility diet recommends drinking one glass of full-fat milk (or yogurt or ice cream) daily. In the Harvard study, the high-fat dairy foods were found to possibly decrease the risk of anovulatory infertility.
  • Eat foods high in iron and take a supplement with folic acid. The fertility diet study revealed that women who ate fruits, vegetables, or beans high in iron or took iron supplements were more likely to get pregnant.

"If a patient is trying to conceive or going through fertility treatments, we highly recommend a diet of fruits, vegetables and lean meats," says Dr. John Schnorr, Reproductive Endocrinologist at Coastal Fertility Specialists. "This appears to have a very positive impact on their treatment."

Researchers believe that staying on a "fertility diet" pattern is linked in some way with a lower risk of ovulatory disorder infertility. They hypothesize that the fertility diet is favorable to balanced levels of glucose and insulin sensitivity -- both factors that play a role in ovulatory function.
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