If you’re like me, you’ve noticed a concerning number of couples sharing fertility struggles. Are people just more open about their struggles or are fertility issues becoming a more widespread concern?
The reproduction system is extremely sensitive and can be easily disrupted if left in unsuitable conditions for long. A body will shut down certain reproductive functions to avoid pregnancy in improper conditions- for the safety of the child and the mother. (Of course, this does not account for all fertility issues).
Could sugar be causing fertility struggles? Let’s find out…
Excess sugar suppresses the immune system and repeated consumption of sugar can lead to hormone disruption, insulin resistance, yeast infections, vitamin/mineral deficiencies, etc. Repeated blood sugar level spikes can stress organs which leads to chronic issues that affect overall health and increases the chances of insulin resistance.
To Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance can cause an imbalance of hormones. In fact, in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, research was published showing that insulin stimulates ovarian testosterone levels in women. In this research they found, theca cells of the ovaries increased production of testosterone by about 14X with insulin stimulation. In men, male fat tissue makes an enzyme that converts androgens to estrogens. Thus, insulin increases fat cell growth which converts testosterone to estrogens. Low-T is an effect of being overweight, not the other way around. In effect, insulin resistance increases testosterone in women and estrogen in men.
In women, the imbalance of reproductive hormones can cause Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS plagues about 6% of reproductive-aged women. Those with PCOS have chronic anovulation (inability to ovulate) and hyperandrogenism (production of excess levels of androgens) and it’s commonly accompanied by hyperinsulinemia (excess levels of insulin in the blood relative to glucose). PCOS can lead to irregular periods, infertility, and cysts in the ovaries. In men, the imbalance of reproductive hormones affects fertility by causing decreased sperm production and indirectly affects fertility by reducing libido and causing erectile dysfunction.
Hence, sugar is a linked to infertility issues by causing havoc on reproductive hormones caused by insulin resistance. Avoiding excess sugar is the best way to ensure health, including reproductive health.