5/21/2013

SYDNEY, Aug 24, 2007 (AFP) - Australian researchers have found a fatty diet damages eggs in the ovaries and prevents them from becoming healthy embryos, a finding they say may explain why obese women are often infertile.

While obesity has long been suspected of hampering a woman's ability to conceive, the University of Adelaide research is said to be the first to find a direct scientific link.

Researcher Cadence Minge said experiments on female mice showed that fat has an impact on the egg before it is even fertilised.

"Consuming a diet of high fat causes damage to eggs stored in female ovaries," Minge said. "As a result, when fertilised, these eggs are not able to undergo normal, healthy development into embryos."

Minge said a protein called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma found in the cells that nourish the egg was the main reason for diet-induced infertility.

"The behaviour of this protein helps to determine the way in which the ovaries sense and respond to fats," she said. "Being able to control this protein will be very important in the quest to reverse infertility caused by poor diets."

Minge found that an anti-diabetes drug called rosglitazone helped counter the protein's impact, resulting in higher birth weights and better rates of foetal survival in the mice being studies.

However, she said the drug had side effects and could not be seen as a "quick-fix" for infertile obese women.

Minge said weight loss was by far the most effective way to restore fertility and even shedding five to 10 kilograms (11 to 22 pounds) was enough to trigger ovulation in obese women who had ceased to ovulate.

"I hope these findings encourage people to carefully consider the impact of lifestyle choices on longer-term quality of life," she said.

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