Research: Unhealthy food drastically reduces egg cell quality – science

A diet high in fat and sugar reduces the quality of eggs. This is what research from the University of Antwerp has shown.

Fertility centers report that overweight women have difficulty conceiving. Research by UAntwerp has now shown that the composition of the ovary and its elastic fluid are strongly influenced by what the mother eats.

In other words, the egg cells sense what you eat. Scientists from the University of Antwerp examined cow’s egg cells in test tubes. Cow eggs are very similar to human eggs. In a test tube, we simulate the environment of an overweight person,” explains Professor Joe Leroy, President of the European Association for Embryology Technology.

“Eggs are real opportunists. They absorb all kinds of nutrients from their environment, including fat. This leads to cell damage which makes it more difficult to fertilize them,” he explains. Research has also shown that the quality of the embryo formed is poor, has genetic abnormalities, and sometimes dies early.

Research on obese mice has also shown that it is very difficult for them to get pregnant. “This may help explain observations in fertility centers with obese patients,” says doctoral student Anouk Smits. Smits wondered how she could help overweight women. For four years I researched whether the quality of eggs could be improved through diet modification. The “preconception care” that Smits gave the mice turned out to be working well. The quality of the eggs improved significantly and the animals became pregnant again more easily.

But this recovery is not complete. Certain oocyte parameters remained different from the healthy control group. Even after several weeks of improved health in the mice, their eggs still showed abnormalities. This may indicate that even immature comfort eggs are irreversibly damaged by an unhealthy diet.

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Fertility centers report that overweight women have difficulty conceiving. Research by UAntwerp has now shown that the composition of the ovary and its elastic fluid are strongly influenced by what the mother eats. In other words, the egg cells sense what you eat. Scientists from the University of Antwerp examined cow’s egg cells in test tubes. Cow eggs are very similar to human eggs. In a test tube, we mimic the environment of an overweight person,” explains Professor Joe Leroy, President of the European Association for Embryology Technology. The eggs are real opportunistic. It absorbs all kinds of nutrients from its environment, including fats. He explains that this leads to cell damage, making it more difficult to fertilize it. The research also showed that the quality of the fetus formed is poor, has genetic abnormalities, and sometimes dies early. Research on obese mice has also shown that it is very difficult for them to get pregnant. “This may help explain observations in fertility centers with obese patients,” says doctoral student Anouk Smits. Smits wondered how she could help overweight women. For four years I researched whether the quality of eggs could be improved through diet modification. The “preconception care” that Smits gave the mice turned out to be working well. The quality of the eggs visibly improved and the animals became pregnant more easily, but this recovery was not complete. Certain oocyte parameters remained different from the healthy control group. Even after several weeks of improved health in the mice, their eggs still showed abnormalities. This may indicate that even immature comfort eggs are irreversibly damaged by an unhealthy diet.

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