How does sugar affect fertility?
The body is naturally programmed to keep blood sugar in balance. It closely regulates sugar level to keep it within safe range. After a meal, blood sugar levels start rising. When blood sugar levels in the body get escalated, a special hormone called ‘insulin’ is secreted from the pancreas. Insulin prepares the body cells to absorb the excess sugar from blood and maintain normal limits of blood sugar. This is done through cell receptors.
Regular consumption of sugar and processed carbohydrates lead to consistent insulin spikes in the body. Over time the cell receptors become tired of being bombarded with insulin and become resistant. Research shows that a large number of women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) have insulin resistance. This condition means that women do not ovulate or ovulate only very infrequently, which in turn causes progesterone deficiency. Lack of progesterone and high levels of testosterone result in a vicious cycle causing lack of ovulation, which in turn causes the body to produce more testosterone.
Even if you don’t suffer from PCOS, sugar and insulin play a major role in keeping our hormones balanced. Excess sugar affects women’s progesterone levels, which in turn affects the balance of estrogen and progesterone. A woman becomes estrogen dominant, which means there is too much estrogen in relation to progesterone. When estrogen levels are high in relation to progesterone, women experience many symptoms such as anxiety, breast tenderness, irregular bleeding, headaches before your period, food cravings, depression, water retention, weight gain and more. If estrogen levels remain high, women may develop endometriosis, fibroids, heavy bleeding, breast cancer and infertility among other conditions.
A person with insulin resistance is more likely to be obese. Insulin resistance is one of the major causes of fat accumulation, particularly around the abdomen. High levels of insulin increases the amount of stored fats in the body. It makes it harder to lose weight. What makes it even worse is that the fat cells produce more estrogen. So this is a vicious cycle.
A study found that by reducing sugar by 60%, it decreases estrogen by 25% within 3 weeks.
Another effect that sugar has on the body is that it makes the body acidic. When the cells can no longer absorb the sugar in the blood, the environment outside the cells becomes saturated with sugar. This makes the body acidic, which in turn increases weight gain and makes your body more prone to disease. It also affects the mucus in your vagina. Not only does it become more acidic, the body also produces less healthy mucus during ovulation. Sperm is slightly alkaline which means it will be destroyed before it reaches its target. Lack of mucus during ovulation also makes it more difficult for the sperm to travel to the Fallopian tube where the egg can be fertilized.
One of the most important diet changes to boost fertility is to quit sugar.