I believe diet plays a very important role in our fertility. While looking up information on PCOS I came across a video from Dr. Greger discussing the best foods for polyscystic ovary syndrome. He goes on to say that over the last two decades there has been increasing evidence supporting an important contribution from food-derived advanced glycation end products (AGEs), also known as glycotoxins, to increased oxidative stress and inflammation processes that play a major role in the causation of chronic diseases. Including polycystic ovary syndrome. Women with PCOS tend to have nearly twice the circulating AGE levels in their bloodstream. Polycystic ovary syndrome may be the most common hormonal abnormality among young women in the United States, a common cause of infertility, menstrual dysfunction, and excess facial and body hair.
Diet and PCOS
Now the prevalence of obesity is also higher in women with PCOS. Since the highest AGE levels are found in broiled, grilled, fried and roasted foods of mostly animal origin, is it possible that this causal chain starts with a bad diet— like lots of fried chicken— which leads to obesity, which then in turn leads to PCOS? So what we eat maybe is only indirectly related to PCOS through weight gain. No, because the same link between high AGE levels and PCOS was found in lean women as well.
As chronic inflammation and increased oxidant stress have been incriminated in the disease process of PCOS, the role of AGEs as pro-inflammatory and pro-oxidant mediators may be linked with the metabolic and reproductive abnormalities of the syndrome. And further, the buildup of AGE inside polycystic ovaries themselves suggests a potential role of AGEs contributing to the disease process itself, beyond just some of the consequences. RAGE is highly expressed in ovarian tissues; in other words, the receptor— that’s the R in RAGE— the receptor in the body for these advanced glycation end products is concentrated for some reason in the ovaries, so ovaries may be particularly sensitive to their effects.
So AGEs might indeed be contributing to the cause of polycystic ovary syndrome and infertility. So should we just cut down on meat, cheese, and eggs? Or we can always come up with AGE absorption blocking drugs. We know that AGEs have been implicated in the development of many chronic diseases. Specifically, food-derived AGEs play an important role; diet is a major source of these pro-inflammatory AGEs. Indeed, cutting down on these dietary glycotoxins reduces the inflammatory response, but stewed chicken just doesn’t taste as good as fried chicken. So therefore, you can have your KFC and eat it, too; just take this drug with it every time you eat to cut down on the absorption of these toxins. And it works; it actually lowers AGE blood levels. This oral absorbent drug, AST-120, is just a preparation of activated charcoal.
That’s like what you give for drug overdoses and when people are poisoned. I’m sure if you took some ipecac with your KFC, your levels would go down, too. You know there’s another way you can reduce your absorption: by reducing your intake in the first place. Simple, safe, feasible. The first thing you do is stop smoking. The glycotoxins in cigarette smoke may contribute to increase in heart disease and cancer among smokers. Then you can decrease your intake of high-AGE foods, while increasing your intake of foods that may help pull AGEs out of your system like brown rice and mushrooms.
Changing AGE Intake
And we can eat foods high in antioxidants like berries, herbs, and spices. Dietary AGE intake can be decreased even just by simply changing the method of cooking from the high temperature, dry cooking methods to low heat, higher humidity. In other words moving away from broiling, searing, frying to more stewing, steaming, and boiling. But what we eat, may be more important than how we cook it. For example, boiled chicken has less than half the glycotoxins of roasted chicken, but even deep-fried potatoes have less than boiled meat. We could also eat foods raw, which doesn’t work as well for blood pudding, but we can choose raw nuts and nut butters, which may have 30 times less glycotoxins than roasted. And we can stay away from high-AGE processed foods such as puffed, shredded, and flaked breakfast cereals.
Why does it matter? Because study after study has shown that switching someone to a low-AGE diet can lower the inflammation within their bodies. Even just a single high AGE meal can profoundly impair our arterial function within just two hours of consumption. Fried or broiled chicken breast and veggies, compared to steamed or boiled chicken breast and veggies. Same ingredients, just different cooking methods. Now you’ll notice that even the steamed or boiled chicken meal still impaired arterial function, so you could certainly choose to eat even healthier, but significantly better than the fried or broiled.
Ironically, the amount of AGEs administered during this high AGE intervention— this profoundly-impair-your- arterial-function amount of AGEs— was similar to the average estimated daily intake by the general population, the standard American diet. That’s why you can decrease inflammation in people putting them on a low AGE diet, but an increase in inflammation was less apparent when people switch from their regular diet to a high AGE diet, because they’re already eating a high AGE diet, so many of these glycotoxins in their regular diet.
Proof That Lowering AGE Intake Helps
Do we have evidence reducing AGE intake actually helps with polycystic ovaries? Yes. Within just two months, baseline diet, switch to high AGE diet, to low AGE diet, and you see parallel changes in insulin sensitivity, oxidative stress, hormonal status, with the take home being that those with PCOS may want to try a low AGE diet, which in the study meant restricting meat to once a week, that’s only boiled, poached, stewed or steamed, and cutting out fast-food type foods and soda.
What about instead of steamed chicken we ate no meat at all? Rather than measuring blood levels, which vary with each meal, like if you just ate some roasted nuts or something, we can measure the level of glycotoxins stuck in your body tissues over time instead with a fancy gizmo that measures the amount of light your skin gives off, because AGE’s are fluorescent.
So no surprise, this turns out to be a strong predictor of overall mortality, so the lower the better. And the one factor consistently associated with reduced skin fluorescence, this reduced AGEs coming out of your body, was a vegetarian diet! This suggests that eating more plant-based may reduce exposure to these preformed dietary AGEs, potentially reducing tissue AGEs as well as chronic disease risk.
As found on Youtube