I see fertility clients all over Ireland and the same fertility myths crop up again and again. There is so much confusion surrounding fertility diets and specific foods that claim to boost fertility. These were around when I was doing IVF and they are still around today. It's one of the main reasons why I decided to specialise in fertility and IVF nutrition so that I can set the record straight about what's 'fertility' true and what's not.
A gluten-free diet will boost your fertility
This is the biggest myth that I hear all the time. It seems like going on a gluten-free diet is the answer to every nutritional problem these days, however there is no evidence to show that removing gluten will boost fertility. If you feel that gluten is causing unpleasant symptoms seek guidance from a registered dietitian before removing it from your diet. Unless there is a specific reason for you to remove gluten e.g. coeliac disease then there is no need for you to stop eating it. When I'm working with my clients to support their fertility, one of my goals is to support them to make their diet as nourishing as possible. Cutting out a whole food group such as wheat will lead to removing nutrients unnecessarily from the diet. This could leave you at risk of nutritional deficiencies if not supported properly. While removing gluten is not necessary for fertility reasons, it is important to note that having undiagnosed coeliac disease can impact your fertility. If you are struggling to conceive, talk to your doctor about ruling out coeliac disease.
A dairy-free diet will boost your fertility
This is another one I hear a lot. Sometimes it is coupled with the gluten-free diet which is a major red flag for me. This means that there is a whole range of nutrients that are being avoided for no reason. There is no research to show that avoiding dairy will help boost your fertility. If you think you are having issues with dairy, check with a registered dietitian before removing it from your diet. Calcium is important for both egg and sperm production so you do not want to remove it unnecessarily.
Extra Selenium will boost your fertility
Selenium is important for both sperm and egg development and is most notably found in Brazil nuts. Taking large amounts of Brazil nuts or Selenium supplements on top of a prenatal that already contains selenium can lead to Selenium toxicity. If you are taking a pre-conception supplement that includes Selenium and you think that you need more Selenium in your diet, consult your fertility specialist or fertility dietitian before you begin taking extra selenium supplements or large amounts of Brazil nuts.
Drinking large amounts of Pomegranate juice will help implantation
While it is a good source of antioxidants and is thought to be associated with improving blood flow, there are no scientific studies to show that it helps with implantation. Therefore there is no need to drink large amounts. Stick to the recommended 125mls per day if you are drinking it during the “Two Week Wait” or add some pomegranate seeds to your salad.
I hope that this blog has helped to clear up some confusion. The world of fertility food and diets can be very confusing at times. However, if you would like to know more about fertility diets, then check out my previous blog, 'Is There a Fertility Diet?'
The information provided in this blog or on social media is for general informational purposes only and should not be used as an alternative to the tailored dietetic assessment and advice that a client would receive by seeing me on a 1:1 basis.