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Diet in preparation for egg freezing

If you are preparing for egg freezing then I hope it's reassuring to know that there are many diet and lifestyle factors that can contribute to improved egg quality. Making sure that you do everything that you can in preparation for egg freezing gives you a better chance of a successful, healthy pregnancy later on.


Before we get into it, I have to highlight that egg quality is different to egg quantity- better known as ovarian reserve. Ovarian reserve can be measured through an AMH test and the results interpreted alongside other factors like your age and other health conditions. It's important to know that despite the amount of eggs a woman has remaining, it only takes one to make a successful pregnancy. Therefore, we need to make sure that no matter what your ovarian reserve is, your eggs are of the highest possible quality to increase your likelihood of having a successful pregnancy and baby.


It can take around 12 weeks before the diet and lifestyle changes that you make begin to impact on your egg quality. So do not leave it until the week before to make changes to your diet- it's important to get into it now! Here are some simple things that you can begin with to help your body to make the healthiest possible eggs to lock-in the best chances of conception later on:



Boost Coenzyme Q10 Intake:

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a potent antioxidant crucial for combating oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Our body naturally produces some CoQ10 but our ability to do this declines with age. Studies have shown that increased CoQ10 levels before IVF, can improve egg response to stimulation, resulting in higher-quality eggs and improved fertilization rates [1]. You can increase the amount of CoQ10 in your diet by including foods such as cauliflower, beef, oranges, chicken, and soybeans. However benefits seen in studies are usually with intakes much higher than this. You can consider a supplement but make sure to check in with a fertility dietitian as there are different dose, timing, and nutrient type recommendations that are important to get right in order to improve egg quality.


Ensure Adequate Zinc Intake:

Zinc is an essential mineral critical for antioxidant pathways and early embryo development. Research suggests that low pre-conception zinc levels can impair egg quality, leading to decreased fertilization rates and compromised embryo development [2]. The best way to make sure you're getting enough zinc is to check that you're meeting your food group recommendations as a starting point. You can do this by downloading my free fertility checklist HERE. Include zinc-rich foods like quinoa, cashews, lentils, oysters, and pork in your diet to support optimal egg health.


Optimize Vitamin D Levels:

Vitamin D is something that can easily be tested alongside the likes of B12 and iron but is often missed. It plays a crucial role in reproductive hormone regulation and egg quality. If you haven't had your vitamin D levels tested then I absolutely recommend that you do this! Just note that sometimes in NZ you may be charged $50 or so for the test (but it's 100% worth it to check for deficiency). Studies have shown that optimal vitamin D levels in the follicular fluid are associated with better IVF outcomes and increased pregnancy rates [3]. Incorporate vitamin D-rich foods such as egg yolks, salmon, trout, sardines, or consider safe sun exposure to support vitamin D synthesis in the body. If you have been given a vitamin D supplement but have never had your levels tested (unfortunately quite common), then make sure to get tested. It's possible to take too much of a single nutrient and we want to avoid vitamin D toxicity.


Prioritize Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for reducing inflammation and supporting cellular function, making them essential for optimal egg quality. Research suggests that a diet rich in omega-3s may increase the reproductive lifespan of eggs and improve egg quality [4]. Include oily fish like salmon, trout, anchovies, sardines, or plant sources such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts in your diet to support egg health. If you know you don't get enough fish (2-3x per week is ideal) then consider an omega-3 supplement thats rich in EPA and DHA of around 2000mg/ day omega 3. It's best to talk to a dietitian to establish the best supplement for you as there are so many on the market and the amount of EPA and DHA within the supplement is important to get right too.


Prioritize Sleep and Melatonin Production:

Adequate sleep is essential for reproductive health, as the sleep hormone melatonin plays a protective role against oxidative stress and supports egg quality. If you aren't getting atleast 7 hours of high quality sleep every night then this could absolutely be something to prioitize. A dietary factor to support this includes incorporating melatonin-producing foods especially in the evenings like cherries, banana, and yoghurt. It's also important to reduce any stimulants like alcohol, sugar, and caffeine which might be keeping you up later at night as well.


You can absolutely make a difference to your egg quality and should take the opportunity to do so before egg freezing. This will ensure that when the time comes to utilize your frozen eggs, you're confident that they are of the highest possible quality and you did everything that you could to support this. There are many more specifics when it comes to fertility nutrition and it's important to get them right in order to see the best possible fertility outcomes.


If you aren't sure where to start or are feeling confused or overwhelmed by all the advice that's out there, then tune into my FREE fertility nutrition webinar on the 5 most common fertility nutrition mistakes AND what to do instead! I go through some actionable, simple steps for you plus you receive my FREE 7-day fertility meal plan. Click here to register now.




References:

  1. Xu Y, Nisenblat V, Lu C, et al. Pretreatment with coenzyme Q10 improves ovarian response and embryo quality in low-prognosis young women with decreased ovarian reserve: a randomized controlled trial. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018;16(1):29.

  2. Diaz ES. Zinc transporters and their implications for reproductive function in mammals. J Reprod Infertil. 2015;16(2):45-52.

  3. Pilz S, Zittermann A, Obeid R, et al. The role of vitamin D in fertility and during pregnancy and lactation: a review of clinical data. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018;15(10):2241.

  4. Nehra D, Le HD, Fallon EM, et al. Prolonging the female reproductive lifespan and improving egg quality with dietary omega-3 fatty acids. Aging Cell. 2012;11(6):1046-1054.

  5. Purcell SH, Moley KH. The impact of obesity on egg quality. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2011;28(6):517-524.


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