October 26, 2020
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Fair warning to couples looking to get pregnant: Limit or do away with sugary drinks. A Boston University study has found a link between consuming high sugar beverages and infertility.
Fertility expert Dr Guia Pastorfide explained that when a couple is unable to conceive for a year even with unprotected sex, they are diagnosed as infertile. About 15 percent of couples in the United States experience infertility, according to researchers.
In males, infertility may be caused by a variety of sperm quality-related factors. In women, infertility could result from a variety of causes such as age and ovulation conditions. Mental stress, smoking, obesity and alcohol are also contributory factors.
Taking into account the increase of high-sugar content drinks in the US, the researchers set out to directly investigate its association with infertility. This is the first study to do so.
Notably, connections between high-sugar content drinks and weight gain, type 2 diabetes, early menstruation and poor semen quality have already been established in the past.
In the study, researchers utilized an online cohort study of North American couples, called Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO) which included 3,828 women between the ages of 21 and 45 living in US or Canada, and 1,045 of their male partners.
They all completed a comprehensive baseline survey of their medical history, lifestyle factors, diet and their intake of high-sugar content drinks. Women participants were followed-up until pregnancy occurred.
“We found positive associations between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and lower fertility, which were consistent after controlling for many other factors, including obesity, caffeine intake, alcohol, smoking and overall diet quality,” said lead researcher Elizabeth Hatch, epidemiology professor at the Boston University School of Public Health.
She said that both males and females registered 20 percent reduction in their fecundability, or the probability of conception.
Females who drank at least one soda per day had 25 percent lowered fecundability, while it was 33 percent for males.
The research, however, found little association when it came to fruit juices and diet sodas and infertility.
Researcher Hatch has suggested that couples who are planning pregnancy should consider limiting their intake of such drinks.
“Given the high levels of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed by reproductive-aged couples in North America, these findings could have important public health implications,” noted the study researchers.
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