BABY, IT’S A WRAP

Skip grills, fry-ups and roasted foods pre-preg­nancy

Herald Sun - - NEWS - BRIGID O’CON­NELL HEALTH RE­PORTER brigid.ocon­nell@news.com.au

A PRE-PREG­NANCY diet that avoids sugar, grilled, fried and roasted foods will be tested as a fer­til­ity booster, af­ter Mel­bourne re­searchers found these items had “toxic” ef­fects on the womb.

One in six Aus­tralian cou­ples ex­pe­ri­ence in­fer­til­ity, with obese women par­tic­u­larly more likely to strug­gle get­ting preg­nant, have an early mis­car­riage or com­pli­ca­tions dur­ing preg­nancy or labour.

Re­searchers from the Hud­son In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Re­search and Monash Uni­ver­sity have found that cer­tain proteins in­side the uterus be­come toxic af­ter ex­po­sure to sugar and other foods cooked at high heat, a process that trig­gers in­flam­ma­tion in the womb of in­fer­tile women who are obese.

“We can have a fer­tile seed, an ab­so­lutely per­fect em­bryo, but un­less the lin­ing of the womb, the en­dometrium, is ac­tu­ally ready to re­ceive the em­bryo then preg­nancy can’t oc­cur,” said lead re­searcher Dr Jemma Evans.

Ad­vanced gly­ca­tion end prod­ucts (AGEs) are com­pounds that oc­cur nat­u­rally in the body, but also ac­cu­mu­late through con­sump­tion of high sugar or highly pro­cessed foods, and foods that are cooked us­ing high heat such as grilling, caramelis­ing, roast­ing or fry­ing. The team an­a­lysed en­dome­trial tis­sue and a uter- us wash of 33 lean and obese women.

Obese women had higher lev­els of AGEs, which detri­men­tally al­tered cells in the lin­ing of the womb and re­duced an em­bryo’s abil­ity to im­plant. The find­ings were pub­lished in the jour­nal Hu­man Re­pro­duc­tion.

Dr Evans said while AGEs had been linked to com­pli­ca­tions in di­a­betes and de­gen­er­a­tive con­di­tions such as Alzheimer’s dis­ease, stud­ies had shown that diet could re­verse their harm­ful ef­fects in as lit­tle as four weeks.

“If we stuck to guide­lines that tell us to have a mainly plant-based diet full of whole grains we’d be healthy, but that mes­sage has been lost in our mod­ern life­style,” she said.

An­nie McDougall, who is 28 weeks preg­nant with her sec­ond child, said this trial was greatly needed to give women more ev­i­dence-based ad­vice.

“You try to look for ev­i­dence-based ad­vice, but for peo­ple who are strug­gling with fer­til­ity, any­thing you read that sug­gests you might have a chance, you’ll grab onto that lit­tle bit of hope,” Ms McDougall said. “That’s why these stud­ies are re­ally im­por­tant.”

An­nie McDougall is 28 weeks preg­nant and eat­ing well for her baby. Pic­ture: DAVID CAIRD The team needs to re­cruit 50 over­weight women plan­ning to start a fam­ily, for an eight-week ran­domised con­trol trial of the diet. Email jemma.evans@hud­son.org.au

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