One of Australia’s leading fertility experts, Dr David Knight has created a guide outlining the best diet for over 40s hoping to conceive. Dr Knight highlights the importance of using dietary polyamines to help increase chances of conceiving. Dr Knight was also recently featured in an article on the Australia Women Online website, click here to read this article.
Infertility affects around one in six couples at a given point in their lives. In women, common causes include issues with the womb, ovulation problems, poor egg quality, ovarian cysts or blocked and damaged fallopian tubes. In men, it could be tube blockage, low sperm count or a sperm allergy. All these problems become more common as the body ages.
Polyamines are essential to maintaining health at all life stages. As humans age, the ability to make polyamines decreases because the enzyme that makes them (ODC) decreases. Polyamines are proteins made from amino acid building blocks. At the age of 33 a woman’s natural fertility starts to decline, and by the age of 40, only around 20% of women can fall pregnant naturally. Polyamines are completely natural and essential for cell renewal and essential to male and female reproductive systems and to embryo/foetal development. Their absence is characterized by infertility and arrest in embryogenesis (embryo growth).
Dr Knight has researched the role of polyamines in women in the 40+ age bracket. Information collected has shown that polyamines are essential regulators of cell growth and gene expression, and they have been implicated in both mitosis and meiosis. There is evidence for polyamine involvement in ovarian follicle development and ovulation, and polyamine synthesis is required for hormone production in the ovary.
So how does one improve their polyamine consumption? The average daily polyamine consumption ranges from about 3.5-5mg/day with the major sources being fruit, cheese, and non-green vegetables. The key polyamines that are of interest to fertility improvement are:
- Putrescine: found in aged cheeses, potatoes, canned/frozen vegetables, oranges and frozen prawns.
- Spermidine: found in mature cheeses, soybeans, fermented tea, mushrooms, potatoes and fresh bread.
- Spermine: found in cereals, canned or frozen vegetables, meat products, particularly red meat and poultry.
“In general, as the polyamines putrescine, spermidine and spermine are essential for cell renewal, they are also needed to keep the body healthy. Having a fertile body requires having a healthy and balanced diet, and increasing the intake of polyamines may assist with your overall fertility if you are trying to conceive,” says Dr Knight.
Studies have shown that the standout foods with the highest measured polyamine levels include: fresh grapefruit juice, orange juice, sauerkraut and oranges.
The body’s organs require polyamines for their growth, renewal, and metabolism. Proper cell development depends on polyamines, which have a profound stabilising effect on a cell’s DNA. Polyamines are therefore thought to be essential to increasing chances for conceiving, and should be incorporated into the diet as much as possible, especially if you are over 40 and hoping to fall pregnant.