Atkins Diet May Make Women Infertile

June 29, 2004
Medical News Today
Atkins diet may make women infertile, interferes with genetic imprinting

If you are a woman and you are on the Atkins diet, you may have a problem if you want to start a family, say scientists. A high protein diet could make it more difficult for a woman to conceive. Scientists at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, Englewood, USA, have come to this tentative conclusion after carrying out a study on mice.

Dr. David Garner, lead researcher, said “Although our investigations were conducted in mice, our data may have implications for diet and reproduction in humans.” He said that a diet which consists of 25% (or more) protein disrupts the development of mice embryos.

Dr. Garnes believes the same problem may appear in humans.

There is a genetic process called ‘imprinting’. This controls the activity of genes inherited from the mother and father. A high protein diet seems to interfere with this process.

The scientists had two groups of mice. They fed one group on a diet of 25% protein and the other group on 14% (protein). Four weeks after being on this diet they mated.

Only a third of the mice (36%) on the high protein diet developed with a normal H19 gene, as opposed to 70% of the other group.

Only 65% of the embryos from the high protein group developed into baby mice while 81% of the lower protein group embryos developed into baby mice.

They also found that the fetuses in the high protein group developed more slowly than the other group. They also found more defects in the baby mice from the high protein group.