13 Aug 2018

PRECONCEPTION ZINC DEFICIENCY COULD SPELL BAD NEWS FOR FERTILITY

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Micronutrient availability can have early and long-lasting effects on egg quality.

A new study from Pennsylvania State University shows that zinc deficiency can negatively affect the early stages of egg development, reducing the ability of the egg cells to divide and be fertilized.

This may affect fertility months in the future.

While a variety of factors can make it difficult for some people to get pregnant, ovulation disorders are a leading cause of female infertility.

This new research shows that zinc plays a role in oocyte growth at an earlier stage than previously investigated, during development and before division.

The researchers found that preantral zinc deficiency:

  • Disrupted growth of cells in culture,
  • Led to smaller egg cells early in development,
  • Impaired the egg cell’s ability to properly divide, a necessary step before successful fertilization can occur.
  • This defect persisted even after more zinc was introduced to the environment.

At risk populations include people with dietary and disease factors that also affect zinc status such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, gastrointestinal disorders and liver disease; women facing food insecurity; or women with certain dietary restrictions, such as vegetarians or vegans who don’t take supplemental zinc.

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