Intermittent fasting is not detrimental to fertility

Krista Varady
Krista Varady, UIC professor of kinesiology and nutrition.

Intermittent fasting — eating only during a limited number of hours during the day — has become increasingly popular in recent years, although some have raised concerns that this pattern of eating can be detrimental to women’s fertility.

But Krista Varady, UIC professor of kinesiology and nutrition, tells Outside magazine that research has proved those worries are unsubstantiated.

“We’ve done about 30 clinical trials in intermittent fasting, and about 85 percent of our samples are women,” she told Outside. “This diet either has no effect on reproductive hormones, or it actually benefits people with polycystic ovarian syndrome.”

In one of Varady’s recent studies, published last year in the journal Obesity, she and co-authors followed a group of pre- and post-menopausal obese women for eight weeks while they followed a strict intermittent fasting plan known as the “warrior diet.”

The researchers found that levels of sex-binding globulin hormone, a protein that carries reproductive hormones throughout the body, was unchanged after the women followed the diet for eight weeks. Testosterone and androstenedione, which the body uses to produce both testosterone and estrogen, were also unchanged.

You can read the full Outside article for more information on intermittent fasting and fertility. And you can read about Varady’s Obesity study in this UIC today article.

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