Dr David Knight Fertility Boosting Foods Interview

Dr David Knight Fertility Boosting Foods Interview

Dr David Knight Fertility Boosting Foods Interview

Two of Australia's leading fertility experts, Dr David Knight and Dr Andrew Zuschmann from Demeter Fertility, have created the -Fertile 40's Diet' alongside a list of -Top Fertility Boosting Foods'.

Infertility affects around one in six couples at a given point in their lives. In women, common causes include issues with the womb, ovulation problems, poor egg quality, ovarian cysts or blocked and damaged fallopian tubes. In men, it could be tube blockage, low sperm count or a sperm allergy. All these problems become more common as the body ages.

Dr David Knight highlights the importance of using dietary polyamines to help increase chances of conceiving. Polyamines are essential to maintaining health at all life stages. As humans age, the ability to make polyamines decreases because the enzyme that makes them (ODC) decreases. Polyamines are proteins made from amino acid building blocks. At the age of 33 a woman's natural fertility starts to decline, and by the age of 40, only around 20% of women can fall pregnant naturally. Polyamines are completely natural and essential for cell renewal and essential to male and female reproductive systems and to embryo/foetal development. Their absence is characterised by infertility and arrest in embryogenesis (embryo growth).

Dr Knight has researched the role of polyamines in women in the 40+ age bracket. Information collected has shown that polyamines are essential regulators of cell growth and gene expression, and they have been implicated in both mitosis and meiosis. There is evidence for polyamine involvement in ovarian follicle development and ovulation, and polyamine synthesis is required for hormone production in the ovary.

So how does one improve their polyamine consumption? The average daily polyamine consumption ranges from about 3.5-5mg/day with the major sources being fruit, cheese, and non-green vegetables. The key polyamines that are of interest to fertility improvement are:
Putrescine: found in aged cheeses, potatoes, canned/frozen vegetables, oranges and frozen prawns.
Spermidine: found in mature cheeses, soybeans, fermented tea, mushrooms, potatoes and fresh bread.
Spermine: found in cereals, canned or frozen vegetables, meat products, particularly red meat and poultry.

Studies have shown that the standout foods with the highest measured polyamine levels include: fresh grapefruit juice, orange juice, sauerkraut and oranges.

According to fertility specialist, Dr Andrew Zuschmann from Demeter Fertility, a healthy, balanced diet is an often-overlooked factor that needs to be considered when trying to conceive. It is also very important that women are at a healthy weight and BMI (between 19 and 25), for the best chance for conception to occur.

There are a number of fertility boosting foods that makeup a healthy, fertility friendly diet for couples trying to conceive: Fresh Fruits and Vegetables - full of antioxidants and phytochemicals, fruit and vegetables help promote reproductive health. Brightly coloured and green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli are particularly important, as they are high in folate and magnesium. These are important nutrients that your body needs to host a suitable environment for a baby to develop, so aim for five big handfuls of a day.

Zinc is one of the most important nutrients for both female and male fertility. Oysters, lean red meat, and sunflower seeds are packed with zinc, which make them a perfect addition to a fertility-boosting diet. They are also full of protein, which is an essential part of any healthy diet.

The Good Fats - it is essential that people trying to conceive are getting enough of good fats in their daily diet intake including: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats can be found in nuts, avocado, seeds such as sesame and pumpkin, sardines and salmon. Include a serve of oily fish 2-3 times a week in your diet will help your body get the essential fatty acids that it needs to be healthy.

When trying to boost fertility through diet, it is important to get the right overall intake of protein, iron, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats through unprocessed wholefoods and a varied diet. Food from vegetables, fruit grains, lean meat and dairy will ensure a healthy balanced diet, and will help your chances of falling pregnant.

Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, as well as highly processed, fatty/processed foods and sugar is also advisable when trying to conceive. A diet rich in healthy and wholesome foods will ensure the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals are absorbed into the bloodstream.

For more information visit www.demeterfertility.com


Interview with Dr David Knight

Question: Can you talk us through the Fertile 40's Diet?

Dr David Knight: The polyamines are proteins found in many foods. Polyamines are essential to male and female reproductive processes and to embryo and fetal development.

Indeed, their absence is characterised by infertility and arrest in embryo growth. Humans make polyamines from amino acids or get these compounds from the diet. In male reproduction, polyamine concentration correlates with stages of sperm production, and promote sperm motility. They are also involved in ovarian follicle development and ovulation, and polyamines are required for hormone production in the ovary. In embryos, polyamine requirement can be met from the mother's sources before implantation. We also know that eliminating polyamine synthesis prevents embryo development early after implantation. Polyamines also play roles in embryo implantation, in decidualization and in placental formation and function, and polyamine privation during gestation results in intrauterine growth retardation.

The ability of the enzyme that makes polyamines in humans, decreases as we get older. So, not only do we not consume as much of the polyamines because of the Western diet, our ability to make them also decreases as we age, especially from our mid-30s to early 40s. These aren¹t compounds that we can supplement, so we need to pay attention to some of the foods we are eating so we make sure we are getting helpful amounts of these in our diet. Hence the Fertile 40s Diet.


Question: How important is diet for women over 40 who are trying to fall pregnant?

Dr David Knight: A balanced dietary habit is important for all of us. The degree to which diet is important depends upon how we have been eating in the past decade.

An unhelpful diet over time leads to obesity, and associated diseases such as PCOS and diabetes and heart disease and arthritis and some cancers, and also affects fertility. Changing an unhelpful diet to one that is balanced is very important in these circumstances, not only for fertility but also for your general health.


Question: Can you talk us through the Top Fertility Boosting Foods?

Dr David Knight: There are a number of fertility boosting foods that make up a healthy, fertility friendly diet for couples trying to conceive:
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables - full of antioxidants and phytochemicals, fruit and vegetables help promote reproductive health.

Brightly coloured and green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli are particularly important, as they are high in folate and magnesium. These are important nutrients that your body needs to host a suitable environment for a baby to develop, so aim for five big handfuls of a day.

Zinc is one of the most important nutrients for both female and male fertility. Oysters, lean red meat, and sunflower seeds are packed with zinc, which make them a perfect addition to a fertility-boosting diet. They are also full of protein, which is an essential part of any healthy diet.

The Good Fats - it is essential that people trying to conceive are getting enough of good fats in their daily diet intake including: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats can be found in nuts, avocado, seeds such as sesame and pumpkin, sardines and salmon. Include a serve of oilyfish 2-3 times a week in your diet will help your body get the essential fatty acids that it needs to be healthy.

When trying to boost fertility through diet, it is important to get the right overall intake of protein, iron, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats through unprocessed wholefoods and a varied diet.

Food from vegetables, fruit grains, lean meat and dairy will ensure a healthy balanced diet, and will help your chances of falling pregnant.


Question: Are these Top Fertility Boosting Foods best for all women when trying to fall pregnant?

Dr David Knight: A healthy diet that contains balanced amounts of the basic nutrients, vitamins and minerals is considered to be the mainstay for healthy living.

Obviously, people that have been diagnosed with specific absorption disorders or food allergies should consult their treating health professional about the addition of new foods to any prescribed diet.

However for the rest of us, healthy eating generally maximises healthy living and babies.


Question: Can you explain what polyamine consumption means?

Dr David Knight: Polyamines are essential to maintaining health at all life stages.

Polyamines are proteins made from amino acid building blocks.

Polyamines are completely natural and essential for cell renewal and essential for male and female reproductive function. As humans age, the ability to make polyamines decreases because the enzyme that makes them ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) decreases. This means that our bodies can¹t make as much and we can¹t reverse that process. So we need to get more of the proteins from our diet. It would be great to maximise our cell renewal, less disease, better genes, maybe looking better and living longer.


Question: Is this diet for men as well as women?

Dr David Knight: Polyamines are just as important in men as in women. While sperm grow differently to eggs, the polyamines have the same type of role. But men ejaculate millions of sperm each time usually, compared to producing just one egg a month.


Question: Why is it important to cut back caffeine and alcohol when trying to conceive?

Dr David Knight: Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, as well as highly processed, fatty/processed foods and sugar is also advisable when trying to conceive. A diet rich in healthy and wholesome foods will ensure the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals are absorbed into the bloodstream.


Question: Should women take supplements along with following these diets?

Dr David Knight: In today's time, being able to continue with a really healthy diet can be difficult. If people are able to eat a healthy balanced diet, such as the Meditteranean Diet, and all the essential food groups are covered in the appropriate amounts, then supplements aren¹t required. But many of us find this really difficult, and so supplements may be helpful, even if we are changing our dietary habit and eating better. The Australian and New Zealand College of OBGYNs recommends folate supplementation during the first trimester of pregnancy.


Interview by Brooke Hunter

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