PARENTS

Trying To Get Pregnant? Brazil Nuts Can Boost Your Fertility

19/11/2014 11:45 | Updated 20 May 2015

Trying to get pregnant? Brazil nuts can boost your fertility

Women trying to get pregnant have been advised to eat brazil nuts, seeds and seafood.

Scientists say an element found in these foods could increase a woman's chance of conceiving.

That element – selenium - is a natural antioxidant and plays a crucial role in the early stages of conception.

It's also crucial in the development of healthy ovarian follicles, which are responsible for the production of eggs in women. Brazil nuts have the highest amount of selenium, followed by seeds and grains, seafood, wholewheat bread, red meat and mushrooms.

Melanie Ceko, from the University of Adelaide, who carried out the research, said: "Selenium is an essential trace element found in protein-rich foods like red meat, seafood and nuts.

"It is important for many biological functions, such as immune response, thyroid hormone production, and acts as an antioxidant, helping to detoxify damaging chemicals in the body.

"We've known for some time that selenium is important to men's fertility, but until now no one has researched how this element could be involved in healthy reproduction in women."

As part of the study, researchers pinpointed exactly where selenium was located in the ovary.

Then, they turned their attention to a protein containing selenium, called GPX1.

They found that levels of selenium and proteins containing selenium were higher in large, healthy ovarian follicles, where eggs are produced.

Ms Ceko said: "We suspect they play a critical role as an antioxidant during the late stages of follicle development, helping to lead to a healthy environment for the egg."

She added that in some cases, eggs that yielded a pregnancy had double the levels of GPX1.

Researchers hope their findings will help treat women with infertility problems.

More on Parentdish

Suggest a correction