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Podcast / Inside Food science
Podcast / Inside Food science

From nutrition to nappies – the truth about diet and fertility

Many aspects of our lives can potentially affect fertility, but there are few we can control.

Our environment, stress and sleep are difficult to change, and our genetics are what they are.

But diet is one of the factors we can, in theory at least, have some level of control over.

So, how can adjustments to our diet help aid fertility?

It is certainly a question the supplements industry has asked, the shelves of chemists sag under the weight of fertility supplements for men and women.

And, of course, there is an awful lot of myth, hearsay and tradition about foods which it is claimed can help you get pregnant.

But there is strong evidence too – and that is what we are interested in looking at. 

What does the evidence say about the link between what we eat and fertility for both men and women?

Grace Dugdale, Reproductive Biologist, Nuffield Leeds Hospital

Grace Dugdale is a reproductive biologist and nutrition scientist who has spent many years researching biological function in sex and fertility and has a number of research special interests in relation to fertility; in particular, metabolic health, the microbiome, mitochondrial function, epigenetics, foetal programming and the optimisation of embryonic development through modifiable factors in the father and mother.

Via a path of interdisciplinary research, Grace has been able to develop both extensive knowledge and a personalised approach to addressing fertility issues in men and women.

This research has led to the development of an evidence-based fertility and preconception care programme that considers the numerous modifiable factors that impact both male and female fertility, as well as the health of the baby born, which Grace runs at the Nuffield Leeds Hospital and in conjunction with Leeds Centre for Reproductive Medicine.

She also devised a fertility and preconception care course for anyone who is trying to conceive, which is now available online. Since lifetime health starts before conception through the impact of environmental factors on eggs and sperm, Grace is passionate about making a difference to future generations and public health through her work. 

In 2017, Grace founded Balance Fertility – a company offering online fertility services including at-home testing for hormones, nutrition and general health to optimise the preconception health of men and women who are trying to conceive. She also co-authored “The Fertility Book”.

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