The struggle to conceive may seem like a never-ending challenging for women with fertility problems. According to Womanshealth.gov, approximately 10 percent of women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 44 have trouble conceiving or staying pregnant due to problems with ovulation, blocked fallopian tubes, or uterine fibroids. Women who suffer from the hormonal disorder, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), may experience menstrual irregularities, diabetes, and reproductive difficulties. Eating a hearty breakfast in the morning may help decrease insulin resistance and glucose levels and boost ovulation in women who suffer from PCOS, according to a recent study.
A team of Israeli fertility experts at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem examined whether meal times had an effect on the bodily processes and symptoms associated with PCOS. The study was conducted over a 12-week period with 60 female participants who were between the ages of 25 and 39, thin with a body mass index of less than 23, and suffered from PCOS.
The women were divided into two groups and were each allowed to consume approximately 1,800 calories a day, according to the Daily Mail. One group consumed their largest meal, approximately 980 calories, at breakfast, while the other group ate their high-caloric meal of the day at dinner. The high-caloric meal contained almost half of the recommended daily intake of calories. The researchers wanted to see if consuming the largest meal of the day at certain times would affect insulin resistance and increase androgens — the male sex hormones — in women.
Eating a hearty breakfast in the morning was found to regulate insulin, testosterone, and other hormones — factors associated with infertility problems in women. Women who ate a big breakfast experienced an eight percent drop in glucose levels and insulin resistance, while those who ate a big dinner did not experience any changes, the Telegraph reports. Women in the breakfast group decreased their testosterone levels by nearly 50 percent, and also increased their rate of ovulation. On the other hand, women who consumed their largest meal for dinner remained the same in testosterone levels and ovulation rate.
“The research clearly demonstrates that indeed the amount of calories we consume daily is very important, but the timing as to when we consume them is even more important,” said Professor Oren Froy, lead author of the study and director of the Nutrigenomics and Functional Foods Research Center, in a news release.
PCOS is the most common cause of infertility in women, and may begin with symptoms in adolescence like menstrual irregularities, according to the Mayo Clinic. Other signs and symptoms of PCOS include obesity and weight gain, high insulin levels and insulin resistance, small cysts in the ovaries, and infertility.