June 1, 2018

Gut Microbes May Contribute to Fertility

The advent of molecular genetics affords us a look into the machinations of systems previously undefined. Uncountable number of microbes, fungi and viruses live (mostly happily) in our gut bound by the limits of the mouth and the parts below. Their workings in concert and sometimes, adversarial, are the composition of the human microbiome. This microbiome is, perhaps, the next frontier of molecular medicine and understanding their guts interaction in cellular process may allow us to control diseases as vast as immunity, and metabolic diseases. Gut microbes may contribute to fertility.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has started a five year pilot program to study and characterize the microbial composition of the GI system, urogenital tract, blood and eyes. Once a “normal” roadmap can be defined – normal being defined as representation of large populations (and large datasets), then we can begin to understand disease as it relates to changes in the microbiota. Perhaps, returning the microbiota to its more normal state will reduce disease.

For instance, there are differences noted in the gut flora of adults with obesity compared to those without the disease. It is also evidenced that higher-calorie diets rich in sugar and processed foods may skew the balance of the microbes which in turn, may negatively affect the extraction of nutrients and may also lead to excess calories absorption.

Diets based on plants, fruits and vegetables may provide better support for the microbiome.  Fiber may be a preferred food source for the gut and not just a brute force effect of moving gut contents – both forward and out!

The gut microbiota have been involved in governing multiple cellular and organ systems but now we start to explore their pathways to our health. Your fertility benefits from a healthy lifestyle. If you have more questions on your fertility, please contact us, we can help!

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Danielle Vitiello, Ph.D., M.D. Board-Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility