Coffee, fats may affect fertility treatment

Published: Thursday, July 05, 2012 @ 11:37 PM

What a woman drinks and eats -- especially coffee and fat -- may affect her chances of success with infertility treatments, two new studies suggest.

"If you drink more than five cups of coffee a day, you reduce your chances of achieving pregnancy during IVF treatment by 50%," says researcher Ulrik Kesmodel, MD, PHD, a consultant gynecologist at the Fertility Clinic of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark.

Eating high amounts of saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats also made IVF success less likely, says researcher Jorge E. Chavarro, MD, an assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health.

But eating higher amounts of monounsaturated fats increased the chances of having a live birth, he tells WebMD.

Both studies were presented in Istanbul at the 28th annual meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).

However, other experts consulted by WebMD warn that both studies are small and it's too soon to recommend drastic dietary changes based on the findings.

"In a small study, all sorts of spurious results can come out," says Richard Paulson, MD, professor of reproductive medicine and head of the fertility program at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

About 1 in 6 couples worldwide have some type of infertility problem during their reproductive years, according to ESHRE. Since 1978, about 5 million babies worldwide have been born with the help of fertility treatments.

Diet & IVF Success: Coffee Study

For the coffee study, Kesmodel evaluated nearly 4,000 cycles in women undergoing infertility treatments at a Denmark clinic.

At the start of the treatment and before each treatment cycle, the women reported how much coffee they drank per day. Kesmodel also took into account age, smoking, alcohol habits, weight, and other factors that may affect the success of fertility treatments.

Those who drank more than five cups of coffee a day cut their chances of achieving pregnancy.

"They have only half the chance of achieving pregnancy compared to women who do not drink coffee at all," Kesmodel tells WebMD.

The finding needs to be repeated in other studies, Kesmodel warns. But if the current study turns out to be valid, the effect of heavy coffee drinking on IVF success would be about the same as the known risk of smoking during IVF.

"I am not saying people [undergoing IVF] should not drink coffee at all," Kesmodel tells WebMD. "One or two cups a day would likely be okay."

He can't explain the link, and points out that he found evidence only of an association between heavy coffee drinking and odds of IVF success, not proof that coffee causes IVF failure.

Diet & IVF Success: Fats

In previous research, Chavarro and his team found links between trans fats and saturated fats and fertility problems.

In the new study, he evaluated 147 women having IVF at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center.

He grouped the women into categories depending on how much of three different kinds of fat they ate.

He also took into account their body mass index, smoking habits, and infertility diagnosis, all of which could affect their treatment.

He found:

  • Women who ate the most saturated fats (found mostly in animal food sources) had fewer mature oocytes -- cells that form eggs.
  • Women who ate the most polyunsaturated fats (found in plant-based foods and oils) had more poor-quality embryos than those who ate the least.
  • Women who ate the most polyunsaturated fats also had a 12% higher proportion of cells in the embryo that were dividing more slowly than expected.
  • Higher levels of monounsaturated fats (found in oils and many foods and found to improve cholesterol) increased the chances of a live birth after embryo transfer. Those who ate the most were about 3.5 times more likely to have a live birth than those who ate the least.

The amount of fats eaten varied. For instance, those in the lowest monounsaturated group ate about 9% of calories from this fat. Those in the highest group, about 25%.

Chavarro can't explain the links. "At this point it is not entirely clear what the underlying mechanisms explaining these associations might be," he tells WebMD.

Diet & IVF Success: Perspectives

No dietary advice changes should be based on the new research, experts who reviewed the findings agree.

"The coffee finding is not a shock," says Harry Lieman, MD, interim division director of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y.

In studies of women trying to conceive without IVF, he says, increased caffeine intake has been linked with an increased length of time to get pregnant.

He already tells his IVF patients not to drink more than two cups of coffee daily. "Now I have IVF evidence," he says.

The finding that women drinking five or more cups of coffee a day fared worse in IVF treatment may simply reflect other extreme habits, Paulson says.

"Anyone who drinks five cups of coffee a day probably has other habits that are not ideal," he suggests. "We cannot conclude from this study that coffee in and of itself interferes with having a good pregnancy outcome following IVF."

Paulson tells his IVF patients they can indulge in one cup of coffee a day, even if it is coffee-house coffee -- typically double the serving size at home.

"Drinking coffee in excess, based on this study, does seem to have a detrimental effect," says Peter Klatsky, MD, assistant professor of reproductive medicine at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

However, the findings may apply to a small percentage of patients, he says. "Most patients are not drinking five or more cups," he says.

The research on fat is too new to trigger diet advice changes, the experts agree.

Until more research is in, the experts who reviewed the findings suggest women undergoing IVF stick with the same guidelines as others. The Dietary Guidelines suggest keeping saturated fat intake low and total fat intake moderate.

This research was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

SOURCES: Ulrik Kesmodel, MD, PhD, consultant gynecologist, Fertility Clinic of Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.Jorge Chavarro, MD, ScD, assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health; assistant professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston.28th Annual Meeting, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, Istanbul, July 1-4, 2012.Richard Paulson, MD, professor and vice chair, obstetrics and gynecology; chief, division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.Harry Lieman, MD, interim division director of reproductive endocrinology and infertility, Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y.Peter Klatsky, MD, MPH, assistant professor of reproductive medicine, Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y.

© 2012 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Doctor: Popular charcoal masks could cause permanent skin damage

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 3:47 PM

A popular “do-it-yourself” charcoal mask that has been trending all over the internet could cause serious damage to your skin, according to a dermatologist.

"It might be dangerous if you like all three layers of your skin," Dr. Seth Forman, a dermatologist in Tampa, Florida, said in an interview with WFTS

Many people have taken to YouTube to show users the painful process of peeling off the charcoal mask. Many of these products are sold from “unregulated vendors,” WFTS reports. Forman said that some of these products are mixed with a foreign charcoal powder and super glue, and will “most likely” be illegal soon. 

If certain layers of skin are peeled off, it can lead to scarring and infection “especially when you get down to the second layer (of skin),” according to WFTS

The good news is that there is a large variety of FDA approved facial masks that are safe, Forman said.

WATCH: Young girl left temporarily paralyzed illustrates dangers of tick bites

Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 4:49 PM

A 3-year-old girl in Oregon awoke on May 13 to find herself unable to stand or use her arms.

>> Read more trending news 

Evelyn Lewis’ mother, Amanda Lewis, filmed her daughter’s failed attempts to stand with help from her husband. 

WGHP reported that the parents took Evelyn to the emergency room, where a doctor discovered a small but dangerous reason for her condition.

After combing through Evelyn’s hair, the doctor discovered a tick, diagnosing her with a condition called “tick paralysis.”

“The doctor talked to us for a minute and said over the past 15 years he had seen about seven or eight children her age with identical symptoms and more than likely she had a tick,” Amanda Lewis wrote on Facebook. “It can affect dogs also and can be fatal. I’m glad we took her in when we did and that it wasn’t something worse and that we found it before it got worse.”

According to the American Lyme Disease Foundation, tick paralysis attacks a person’s muscles and results in symptoms like muscle pains and numbness of the legs. These begin after a tick has attached itself to a host, generally on the scalp.

>> Related: Rare tick-borne illness worries some medical professionals

Fortunately, Evelyn is now doing much better, as her mother wrote on Facebook that she “is now pretty much completely back to her feisty little self. She complains a lot about her head itching but otherwise, she’s just fine.”

Related

Here’s how much fruit juice children should drink, according to new guidelines

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 12:19 PM



KidStock/Getty Images/Blend Images

Next time you're grocery shopping for your kids, think twice before adding a carton of fruit juice to your basket. The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its guidelines on all juices, advising parents to pull back on how much they serve their little ones.

» Related: What Atlanta dietitians feed their kids 

Previous recommendations said parents should wait to give their babies juice until after six months, but its latest update is suggesting that they wait one year. 

In fact, infants should only be fed breast milk or infant formula for the first six months. After six months, moms and dads can then introduce fruit to their diet, but not fruit juice. 

>> Read more trending news

“Parents may perceive fruit juice as healthy, but it is not a good substitute for fresh fruit and just packs in more sugar and calories,” said Melvin B. Heyman, MD, FAAP, co-author of the statement. “Small amounts in moderation are fine for older kids, but are absolutely unnecessary for children under 1.”

» Related: Should we slap a tax on sugary drinks? 

Scientists laid out instructions for older children, too. Toddlers who are ages 1 to 4 should only have one cup of fruit a day. Four ounces of that can come from 100 percent fruit juice, but it should be pasteurized and not labeled “drink,” “beverage” or cocktail.” 

For children ages 4 to 6, fruit juice intake shouldn't exceed four to six ounces a day. 

The amount increases just slightly for children ages 7 to 18. They can have up to two and a half cups of fruit servings, but only eight ounces of it should be juice. 

Top 15 crusaders for health in America's food industry

Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 10:59 PM
Updated: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 10:59 PM

Wondering how this year's list stacks up against the last? Check out Top 15 Crusaders for Health in the Food Industry 2012.

Amongst all the junk food commercials and donut sandwiches, there are a handful of health heroes. These aren’t just people who eat organic greens for lunch and free-range eggs for dinner; they’re moving and shaking the way we think about our food, including where it comes from, the implications it has on our environment, and what our meals mean for our bodies. Here, we recognize 15 superstars (in no particular order) that have devoted themselves to improving American’s relationship with food.

 

1. Marion Nestle
Nestle has got her hand in nearly every facet of America’s food industry. Her blog, Food Politics, covers topics from nutrition and biology to health policy and food marketing. She’s been teaching nutrition for nearly four decades and currently teaches sociology, food studies, and public health at NYU. Nestle is the author of many books, but her latest — “Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics” — is all about understanding the intersection of health and food amidst all the mass marketing and misinformation put forth by major food manufacturers. Currently, Nestle updates her blog regularly and presents at universities and conferences on topics such as genetically modified foods and the role food companies play in our food system. (Photo: www.foodpolitics.com)

 

2. Michael Pollan
As one of the foremost activists for change in the overwrought food industry, Pollan is an outspoken and often controversial figure in the food and farming space. Though probably best known for his book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” (which hung out on The New York Times Bestseller list for more than three years), Pollan has continued to write. In his most recent book, “Cooked”, Pollan explores how cooking connects us to plants, animals, farmers, and culture (amongst other things). (Photo by Ken Light)

 

3. Michelle Obama
After launching the Let’s Move! campaign at the start of 2010, the First Lady has made healthifying America’s eating habits (especially for kids) her job. The ultimate goal is to eliminate childhood obesity and help kids live healthier lives with good food and a little extra physical activity. This year, Obama held the second annual “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge,” where she asked children ages eight to 12 to whip up nutritious, tasty, and affordable recipes. Unfortunately, we weren’t invited to the White House kids’ “State Dinner” with the winner of this year’s challenge. (Photo: www.whitehouse.gov)

 

4. Mark Bittman
As an author and New York Times writer,Bittman likes to weigh in on what’s wrong with the American diet. A part-time veganhimself, Bittman is an advocate for the “flexitarian” diet — which means eating vegan during the day, but allowing for more flexible consumption after 6 pm. His super popular book, “How to Cook Everything”, is a go-to resource for basic kitchen skills. Not only does he push for humans to stay healthy, Bittman relentlessly encourages us to keep the environment happy and healthy, too. Oh, and in his spare time, he runsmarathons(Photo: www.markbittman.com)

 

5. Mike Bloomberg
As the mayor of New York City, Bloombergtakes his role seriously, making waves in the name of public health. From smoking bans tosoda bans, Bloomberg’s initiatives aren’t without controversy and backlash. Passionate about combating obesity, he’s pushed for salad bars and healthier menus in school cafeterias. Plus, he’s managed to eliminate trans fats from tons of restaurant items, and make it mandatory for chain restaurants to clearly post calorie counts on menus. We’re excited to see what goals Bloomberg sets (and reaches) next. (Photo: www.nyc.gov)

 
For the full list of 2013's top health crusaders in the food industry, go to Greatist.com.