The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Inayat-ur-Rahman, Senior Staff Reporter
There are studies which have suggested that Fasting Ramadan (a form of Intermittent Fasting Diet) helps the whole body get ready for conceiving. This is through detoxification, enhancing quality of sperms in men, and regulating ovulation in women, creating a perfect environment for conception. Fasting sets the scene for the body to balance its hormones while maximising the liver’s ability to do its cleansing job. It also allows burning of excess fat and lowering stress levels, all of which could be damaging to human reproductive ability. It has also therefore been suggested that fasting increases fertility in women and boosts their chances of conception. Other researchers have even claimed prevention of age-related decline in egg quality and quantity in other species with caloric restriction.
This was stated by Dr Salem El Shawarby, Consultant & UK Subspecialist in Reproductive Medicine/IVF Medical Director of Fakih IVF, Abu Dhabi, during an exclusive interview with Gulf Today, adding that in men, there are some studies suggesting that sperm count may be increased by fasting (but not in azoospermics). It is also claimed to boost their gondotrophin and testosterone hormonal levels.
“Leading a healthy lifestyle in general is vital for fertility. Couples should focus on healthy food rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, high fibre products, and drinking good amount of fluids for adequate rehydration especially for those observing Ramadan in Iftar and Suhoor.
“Overweight women and men should make every effort at losing weight by healthy diet and exercise, and if needed seek dieticians’ help. Avoiding smoking cannot be overemphasised as always.
“There is no contraindication to fertility treatments in Ramadan, unless there is a known pre-existing medical condition that does not make fasting safe in general. Also, there is no scientific data to suggest any significant effects on the cycle outcome, as simple modifications in the timing of medication, clinic appointments, and related procedures may be all what is required during this time.
However, women who are at risk, or may over-respond to fertility injections, would be advised not to fast. Proper discussion with the treating clinician for individual advice is paramount in such cases,” he added.
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“Break the fast at Iftar by eating three dates. The reason is that after many hours of fasting, the body needs a source of energy like simple sugars or carbohydrates that it can burn up fast for a quick burst of energy. This provides glucose to all cells, especially the brain and the nervous system.”
A gynaecologist/obstetrician in the UAE and a sleep specialist in the US said getting enough sleep should be in everyone’s consciousness no matter how busy or stressed one is with work and social affairs.
A metabolic and obesity physician in the capital explained recently the common bad habits to avoid during the fasting month. “Swap high-calorie meals with healthier home-made ones and cut down on carbohydrates. If you are medically fit, try moderate intensity exercise like brisk walking, jogging or gym for at least 150 minutes per week,” advised Healthpoint’s Head of Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery, Abu Dhabi, Dr Mohammed Al Hadad.
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