Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Did you know that as well as being packed with vitamin C that blackcurrants help to increase the levels of good bacteria, Bifidobacterium, in the gut?
The gut microbiome can impact on all body systems including our reproductive system. There is some evidence to suggest that gut dysbiosis may be linked to endometriosis, a chronic inflammatory reproductive disorder. In different studies, it was also found that women who experience recurrent pregnancy loss have a higher rate of undetected gut disorders. This group of women were shown to have abnormal gut permeability, which was linked to inflammatory reactions in the body.
There are an increasing number of studies finding a link between gut health and fertility. In a preliminary study published by the Journal of Chemical Biochemistry Nutrition, Japanese researchers analysed the gut microbiomes of 18 fertile and 18 infertile women. They found that infertile women had different gut microbiome compositions compared with fertile women, indicating the gut microbiome may play a role in fertility. In this particular study, to examine the impact of prebiotic fibre on fertility, the researchers had 12 of the infertile women consume 10 g of prebiotic PHGG (Sunfiber) while attempting to conceive through in vitro fertilisation. Comparing the gut microbiota of women with successful pregnancies and those with unsuccessful IVF treatments, pregnant women had a higher percentage of Bifidobacterium along with a lower abundance of Paraprevotella and Blautia, before and after PHGG consumption (see reference to study below).
Ingredients (makes 4 servings)
8 oz Blackcurrants
4 oz runny honey
50 ml of water
1 tablespoons lemon juice
Over low heat in a saucepan, heat the blackcurrants, honey, and water until all mixed smoothly. Place the blackberry mixture and lemon juice into a food processor or blend until the mixture is smooth. Freeze the blackberry puree in an ice-cream tub and enjoy!
Ata, B., Yildiz, S., Turkgeldi, E., Brocal, V. P., Dinleyici, E. C., Moya, A., & Urman, B. (2019). The Endobiota Study: Comparison of Vaginal, Cervical and Gut Microbiota Between Women with Stage 3/4 Endometriosis and Healthy Controls. Scientific reports, 9(1), 2204. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-39700-6
Komiya S, Naito Y, Okada H, Matsuo Y, Hirota K, Takagi T, Mizushima K, Inoue R, Abe A, Morimoto Y. Characterizing the gut microbiota in females with infertility and preliminary results of a water-soluble dietary fiber intervention study. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2020 Jul;67(1):105-111. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.20-53. Epub 2020 Jun 5. PMID: 32801476; PMCID: PMC7417798.
Tersigni C, D’Ippolito S, Di Nicuolo F, Marana R, Valenza V, Masciullo V, Scaldaferri F, Malatacca F, de Waure C, Gasbarrini A, Scambia G, Di Simone N. Correction to: Recurrent pregnancy loss is associated to leaky gut: a novel pathogenic model of endometrium inflammation? J Transl Med. 2019 Mar 15;17(1):83. doi: 10.1186/s12967-019-1823-5. Erratum for: J Transl Med. 2018 Apr 17;16(1):102. PMID: 30876477; PMCID: PMC6419413.
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