Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that interchanges between periods of fasting and eating. It is not focused on specific foods, the emphasis is when you eat.
Our bodies have the ability to go without food for long periods of time. We developed this feature perhaps because our ancestors did not always have an abundance of food.
How does intermittent fasting help with fertility?
Intermittent fasting may improve your sensitivity to insulin, therefore, supporting healthy blood sugar levels, restoring ovulation and improving your chances to conceive.
Unfortunately, most of the intermittent fasting studies were done on men or mice. Consequently, science has limited proof of how it affects women’s bodies and their fertility.
However, we believe, intermittent fasting may play an important role in these situations::
- high levels of insulin (prediabetes),
- need to lose weight fast
- your periods stopped because of the excess weight
- you are diagnosed with PCO with metabolic syndrome.
Popular intermittent fasting regimes:
- Fast for 16 or 14 hours each day, and then eat within an eight or 10-hour window.
- Alternate-day fasting: alternate days of regular eating with days of fasting.
- 5:2 fasting: fast for two days a week, and eat normal meals the other five days.
- One meal a day, no snacking in between.
A word of caution
Intermittent fasting may also disrupt your menstrual cycle, especially if you are underweight or a healthy weight.
The female reproductive system is sensitive to calorie restriction. When you fast for long periods of time, your brain may decide that because no food is coming you must be in danger. Consequently, it starts conserving energy. The reproductive hormone axis goes into a pause mode, reducing estrogen production. Insufficient estrogen leads to suppressed ovulation, and your periods may become irregular or disappear completely. Even if it is scary, it’s not an irreversible condition. In most cases, periods resume when you start eating regularly again.
One of the best guides to intermittent fasting is the book by Jason Fung ‘The Obesity code’.