Dieting fads come and go, but one way of eating has stuck around for several years. Intermittent fasting, reducing your calorie intake or the period when you can eat, is becoming increasingly popular. Although it’s been around for a long time (since we were bacteria, our cells have “fasted” to reverse or stop DNA breakdown), there’s not much research on humans, and they’re mainly on those assigned males at birth. While some research suggests fasting benefits metabolism, heart health, and cognition and reduces inflammation, there needs to be more on what happens to women when they fast. Some say that it can benefit fertility, but some say that signs lead to it reducing your ability to have a child. We did some extensive research to find out. Keep reading for more!
Why Could it Be Worse for Fertility?
Intermittent fasting could harm a woman’s fertility because of its effects on the period. For ovulation to occur regularly, you must consume enough energy and adequate body fat. According to The Dietologist, the effects fasting has on your body are similar to birth control! “Your brain essentially thinks the body is in ‘danger’ and conserves energy by reducing estrogen and progesterone as the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis goes into snooze mode. This means ovulation won’t occur, and your periods may become irregular or disappear completely (known as hypothalamic amenorrhea). “You could be restricting your hormones of what they need and the balance they need to have for your cycle to be regular.
According to Well + Good and Dr. Styer of CCRM Fertility, “the female pituitary gland can sense calorie intake. Below a certain level, it can create a signal from the brain for ovulation to be reduced or absent.” He says that although it’s pretty clear that the formula for a baby is the egg plus sperm, it’s also a precise science of a balance of hormones, ovulation, and your reproductive system being prepared to conceive and carry a child. After all, your body knows what’s best and what it can handle.
It is not proven that fasting harms your reproductive health; it is important to note. If you are trying to conceive, it’s best to try and have as regular of a cycle as possible and not try to stop regular ovulation. You want to give your body nourishment and the best possible environment for a child to develop and grow.
Why It Could Be Better for Fertility?
For those of us who are struggling with PCOS, intermittent fasting may help with insulin resistance, according to The Dietologist. Because this is common in women with PCOS, fasting may help recalibrate excess weight, energy loss, and balance hormones. While there is no scientific research to say what works best, this has helped women with PCOS. We recommend consulting your doctor before taking on any diet or changing your lifestyle.