Beta Carotene and Fertility
Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
Although studies have remained conflicting, there are a few hints that point to a relationship between b-carotene and fertility. This vitamin A precursor affects sperm motility and may increase the risk of fetal growth defects. Low levels of b-carotene have also been linked to prolonged oestrus, delayed ovulation, and poor conception rates. Other studies have found a beneficial relationship between b-carotene and fertility.
Vitamin A deficiency causes retinol deficiency
A mother with vitamin A deficiency may face many challenges conceiving a child. This is because the embryo lacks adequate levels of this essential vitamin. If a mother is vitamin A deficient, the embryo will be affected by a wide range of defects, including stunted growth. Vitamin A deficiency can also lead to infertility. During a doctor's visit, the doctor will perform a complete eye exam and review her medical history. She may also do a blood test to measure vitamin A levels.
Vitamin A deficiency affects sperm motility
In a recent study, researchers looked at the association between serum 25-hydroxy-D (25OHD) level and sperm motility. The study found a positive relationship between the level of 25OHD and sperm motility. Although the study did not look at reproductive hormone levels, it is worth considering whether a deficiency in Vitamin A may affect sperm motility.
Vitamin A deficiency increases risk of fetal growth defects
In pregnant women, vitamin A deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of fetal growth defects. This link has been studied by a team of scientists, including Oakley GP Jr. and Erickson JD. These researchers studied pregnant women in China and found that the vitamin A level in their blood was 1.63 mmol/L or 5.3 percent. This level is considered mild by the World Health Organization (WHO), which considers low serum retinol in pregnant women between two and ten percent of the reference value as a risk factor for fetal growth defects. In Nigeria and Egypt, the researchers found that the percentage was as high as 18%.
Vitamin A deficiency increases risk of oxidative stress
Several animal models and in-vitro studies have suggested that oxidative stress negatively impacts fertility in females. Although no studies have directly investigated the relationship between oxidative stress and female fertility, other risk factors have been implicated in women's infertility, including extreme body weight, smoking, and alcohol consumption. It may also affect the timing of viable pregnancy. In addition to preventing oxidative stress, dietary antioxidants may have beneficial effects on fertility.
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Dietary sources of beta-carotene
Beta-carotene is an antioxidant pigment in plant foods, which gives them their rich hues. Its name comes from the Latin word "beta," meaning carrot. It can also be found in foods like oranges, winter squash, and yellow fruits. Interestingly, high-carotene diets are not associated with reduced fertility. Moreover, it's safe to consume during pregnancy.
Vitamin A supplementation
There is little evidence to support the link between b-carotene and successful conception. However, in one mouse study, b-carotene supplementation reduced the number of failed pregnancies in mice with a vitamin A deficiency and a defective carotenoid cleavage enzyme, BCO2. This suggests that b-carotene toxicity is related to the lack of active b-carotene-cleaving enzymes in the body.
The link between beta carotene and obesity is complex. Although the evidence is mixed, researchers have determined that beta-carotene is effective at reducing body fat in mice through a process called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-gamma). It is not known how this effect occurs, but the link may be important for adipose tissue and energy metabolism.
Obesity and carotenoids
The present review has identified several studies regarding the relationship between carotenoids and pregnancy. These studies have included several methods of pregnancy and childbirth, and they were evaluated for statistical significance. They are grouped into two main categories: overweight and obese. In the included studies, the subjects were overweight or obese, and they were given the same amounts of carotenoids as the control group. Aside from assessing the effect of carotenoids on pregnancy, the review also looked at the effects of carotenoids on fertility in both overweight and obese women.