This study examined the effect of antioxidant supplementation on time to pregnancy among infertile women.
Nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E are referred to as natural antioxidants, molecules known to protect the body from damaging chemical reactions. Antioxidants are widely used as dietary supplements, and have been investigated for their potential benefit in the prevention of diseases such as cancer and heart attacks. However, the association between antioxidant consumption and fertility has not yet been thoroughly investigated.
The study examined 441 women with unexplained fertility. A food intake questionnaire was used to determine antioxidant intake from foods and supplements. The study looked at how consumed amounts of antioxidant nutrients affected the time until a successful pregnancy was achieved.
Beta-carotene intake appeared to be associated with a shorter time to pregnancy among obese women and those younger than 35 years of age. Specifically, obese women were determined to be 29% more likely to experience a shorter time to pregnancy, and younger women were 19% more likely to experience a shorter time-to-pregnancy, when consuming high amounts of beta-carotene. The same was found true for vitamin C intake among average weight women, who were 9% more likely to experience a shorter time to pregnancy. Women under the age of 35 were determined to be 10% more likely to experience a shorter time to pregnancy with increased vitamin C intake. Among women older than 35 years of age, increased vitamin E intake appeared to slightly reduce time to pregnancy.
This study concluded that increased intake of antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E seem to assist conception among women with unexplained infertility.
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