Big Breakfast Can Help Women Fight Infertility, Research Shows

Israeli scientists find timing of largest meal in the day can improve condition of thin women suffering from infertility due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Eating a hearty breakfast can improve the condition of women suffering from infertility, Israeli researchers revealed in a new study, as reported by AlphaGalileo.

Conducting experiments on women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome, Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University researchers found the timing of the largest meal had a significant effect on ovulation and hormone levels.

The researchers based their study on recent findings in nutritional research that the nutritional effect of meals and of calorie intake is highly related to the time of the meals' consumption.

The study examined how meal times affect the fertility of women suffering from menstrual irregularities due to PCOS, a condition which afflicts as many as 10% of mature women. PCOS disrupts their reproductive ability, as well as causing a resistance to insulin, an increase in male sex hormones (androgens), and can also cause hair loss on the scalp though increase in body hair, acne and future diabetes.

The researchers sampled 60 women between the ages of 25 to 39, all thin (with a BMI less than 23) and suffering from PCOS.

In the experiment, carried out over a 12-week period, the women were divided into two groups, with one having their largest meal, roughly 980 calories, at breakfast, and the other group at dinner.

While the condition of the women belonging to the "dinner" group showed no change, the findings, published in the Clinical Science journal, showed improved results for the "big breakfast" group: Their glucose levels and insulin resistance decreased by 8%, testosterone dropped by nearly 50%, and finally, the number of ovulating women increased, showing an increase in fertility.

According to researcher Prof. Oren Froy, director of the Nutrigenomics and Functional Foods Research Center at the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the Hebrew University, “The research clearly demonstrates that indeed the amount of calories we consume daily is very important, but the timing as to when we consume them is even more important.”