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Originally published September 9 2007

Consuming low-fat dairy products found to increase risk of infertility in women

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

Consuming low-fat dairy products may significantly increase a woman's risk of infertility, according to a recent study published in Human Reproduction, Europe's leading journal of reproductive medicine. Researchers in the United States found that women who ate two or more servings of low-fat dairy products daily had an 85 percent higher chance of infertility due to lack of ovulation than other women.

What you need to know:

• Researchers studied the diet and lifestyle habits of 18,555 women between the ages of 24 and 42, from 1991 to 1999. None of the women had a history of infertility.

• Four hundred and thirty-eight of the women studied developed anovulatory infertility, which was strongly correlated with low-fat dairy intake. Women who ate at least one serving of high-fat dairy daily, however, had a 27 percent lower risk of anovulatory infertility.

• Lead Researcher Dr. Jorge Chavarro advised that women seeking to conceive eat only full-fat dairy foods, but that they switch back to low-fat versions once they have become pregnant.

• According to University of Birmingham Professor Chris Barratt, scientists do not understand the mechanisms by which dietary intake affects fertility. He also said that age is a much more significant factor in infertility risk than diet.

• Quote: "The key thing here is that this is a big study. I think you can take some confidence in that. We've known for some time that patients with low body weight have very significant problems ovulating, and patients overweight also have problems ovulating." - Chris Barratt

Bottom line

• Eating low-fat dairy products may increase a woman's risk of infertility.

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