Couples that have high cholesterol when trying to conceive are likely to take longer to get pregnant. A new study found evidence for the first time that links high cholesterol directly to infertility, showing that couples who took the longest to get pregnant in the yearlong study were the ones with the highest levels of cholesterol.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance used to maintain nerve cells and other important bodily functions that can build up in arteries and blood vessels, leading to serious health issues like heart disease and stroke if left unchecked. According to the CDC, high cholesterol is a condition that affects over 70 million Americans. A buildup of high cholesterol is often a silent condition, meaning there are often no symptoms of the problem.

Cholesterol concept.Several factors contribute to a person’s cholesterol level. The most common causes of high cholesterol are heredity and genetic predisposition. But diet and exercise also play an important role in the amount of cholesterol a person has in their system.

The study, published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, stated that high cholesterol was not only instrumental in raising the risk of serious heart conditions like cardiovascular disease, but also suggested that it is a factor in infertility. This is the first time that cholesterol has been identified specifically as having any effect on fertility.

The study took cholesterol readings of all its participants at the beginning of the study. Researchers looked at both partners’ cholesterol measurements initially, noting both the total cholesterol and the free amounts of cholesterol in their blood samples. Of the 401 women who completed the study, 347 got pregnant during the study and 54 did not. The results showed that couples where both of them had high cholesterol levels in their initial blood samples took the longest to get pregnant.

Clearly, reducing cholesterol levels should be a priority. Couples can achieve this in several ways:

  • Participate in regular exercise every day
  • Eat a diet rich in organically grown, whole foods
  • Increase their intake of green leafy vegetables
  • Get your weight into a healthy range, within a body mass index range of 18.5 to 25 percent
  • Stop bad habits like excessive drinking and smoking

High cholesterol could make getting pregnant take a lot longer. This study further emphasizes the importance for couples that are trying to conceive to optimize their health before trying to get pregnant. You can reduce high cholesterol with a healthy lifestyle and focus on getting to your best physical health possible. This will give your body what it needs to optimize your reproductive health and achieve your dreams of family.

Sources

“High cholesterol linked to infertility.” www.medicalnewstoday.com. 21 May 2014. Web. 10 July 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277067.php>

“High Cholesterol May Delay Parenthood.” www.webmd.com. 5 May 2014. Web. 10 July 2014. http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/news/20140520/high-cholesterol-may-delay-parenthood-study-suggests