Recent studies have shown that the consumption of fish oil (or, more specifically, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil) improves fertility in both men and women. Fish oil is typically harvested from cold-water fish like salmon, trout, sardines and a wide variety of others. These oils contain high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, which the body breaks down into eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. These two acids play a large role in biological processes that are vital to one’s fertility. But how exactly does fish oil help in regulating these processes and increase a couple’s chance at successfully conceiving a child?
Docosahexaenoic acid, which is a byproduct of omega-3 fatty acids, play a key role in the mobility of sperm. Sperm cells face a long and arduous journey before they’re even able to attempt to penetrate an ovum and fertilize an egg. In order to be fit for this journey, they must be, first of all, plentiful, and, second of all, up to the task.
Docosahexaenoic acid plays an important role in the development of healthy sperm. The more sperm that make it to the ovum (millions will naturally die during the journey), the better chance there will be that one of them will successfully fertilize the egg, leading to pregnancy. Studies have found that males deficient in this acid produce under-performing sperm and are less fertile as a result. Furthermore, consumption of omega-3 fatty acids also increases blood flow to the genitals which leads to an increase in the overall production of sperm, as well as an decrease in the likelihood of erectile dysfunction. Again, numbers are key to increasing the odds of successful conception. The more sperm present in a man’s ejaculate, the better chances that one will successfully fertilize the egg.
Hormonally, women are much more complex than men and they cannot increase the production of ova that can successfully be fertilized, as women are born with all the eggs they will ever produce. However, there are certain conditions that the body can bring about that can help women become more fertile, and the consumption of fish oil promotes the natural occurrence of these conditions. For example, one of the main components to increased fertility is the regular and predictable menstrual cycle. Having a regular cycle allows women to know when their periods of highest fertility occur. Knowing this information allows couples to set a plan that will allow them the best chance of successful conception. Consumption of fish oils helps to promote a regular menstrual cycle.
Omega-3 fatty acids also enhance the body’s natural reactions during the menstrual cycle. A woman’s body temperature, for example, naturally increases during ovulation. This is a major tell-tale signal that her body is ready to conceive. By encouraging this natural surge in temperature, fish oil give women another tool they can use to increase their chances to successfully conceive.
Fish oils aren’t a magical elixir that can guarantee pregnancy. However, they do draw upon and enhance the body’s natural tools for successfully conceiving a child. Natural regulation is the key to increasing fertility, and consuming fish oils regulates these processes to become more predictable and allows couples to know their windows for peak fertility.