8 Tips to support ART implantation and endometrial thickness
Things you can do to support implantation and endometrial thickness according to the research
There are tons of miracle remedies floating around promising to increase implantation rates or endometrial thickness for women who are undergoing IVF or IUI and during their two week wait (2ww). There is some evidence supporting that certain dietary measures may help improve these factors, but the actual recommendations may surprise you! Things like yams and pomegranate are never mentioned in the literature.
So what does the research say? Keep reading to learn more! Please note that these are not personalized recommendations and any changes to your diet should be coming from your health care provider.
8 nutrition-interventions that may help support implantation rates
1. The presence of certain probiotics in a woman’s vagina is related to increased implantation rates. Additionally, women with a low percentage of this bacteria in their vaginal sample were less likely to have a successful embryo transfer. Having a higher presence of certain lactobacillus strains seem to be key in supporting implantation (1, 2) . Bump up your fermented food intake, eat foods with live probiotics, or consider a supplement under the guidance of a health care provider. You can read more about probiotics and fertility here.
2. Higher levels of urinary BPA has been shown to be related to reduced implantation rates. BUT….there’s a kicker. This was shown in women who consumed a dietary intake of less than 400 micrograms of folate per day, and in a separate study in women who did not consume soy (3, 4). In other words, eating dietary folate and soy appears to protect women from the negative effects of BPA in terms of implantation. Note that the folate was from dietary folate and not from supplemental folate. Make sure to eat those greens, ladies (or beets!).
3. Supplemental Vitamin E intake may be related to improved chances of implantation. In one study, vitamin E supplementation for 12 weeks among women with implantation failure had beneficial effects on endometrial thickness. The dose that was used in this study was 400 IU daily (5). PLEASE check with your doctor or dietitian before you start any mega-dosing of any nutrients.
4. Think you are in the clear drinking diet sodas that are caffeine-free? Check this one out! Consumption of ≥3 servings of regular soft drinks or any amount of diet soft drinks was associated with mildly reduced implantation rates when undergoing ART (6). Water is always your best-bet, but if you have to have something else, there are tons of water alternatives out there these days.
5. Alcohol intake at the time of ART is negatively associated with implantation rates. Concerned that pre-ART you enjoyed your adult beverages a little too much? Don’t let that stress you out. Studies suggest that alcohol intake that was consumed a year before ART did not play a role on implantation (7).
6. Following a diet called the “pro-fertility diet” has been related to improved ART rates, including improved implantation rates (8). Some aspects of the pro-fertility diet include:
· Supplementation of folic acid, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12 in specific levels
· Low-pesticide fruits and vegetables
· Whole grains
· Soy foods
· Limiting high pesticide fruits and vegetables
7. Watch your copper intake. If you have an EXTREMELY high dietary copper intake, you may want to scale back. One study was conducted in Japan because the Japanese government recently stated that actual copper intake was higher among Japanese than needed. The researchers evaluated serum copper levels among women who were pregnant at 10 weeks and women who were not pregnant at 10 weeks (but wanted to be!). The researchers concluded that high serum copper concentrations (high Cu/Zn ratio) are a risk factor for implantation failure (9).
Now I am taking HIGH dietary copper intake or over-supplementing.
Some foods that are high in copper include:
· Nuts and seeds
Please note that all of these foods are highly nutritious and I am not suggesting that you eliminate them. Just be aware about OVER-indulging on copper-rich foods on a consistent basis.
8. Whole grain intake may help increase endometrial thickness and result in a higher probability of live births! When people hear the words whole grains, some freak out because of GLUTEN!!! I am not anti-gluten, but if you are on that bandwagon there are plenty of gluten-free whole grain options like quinoa (yum!).
This association was largely driven by intake of bran as opposed to germ. A 28-g per day (∼1 serving/day) increase in whole grain intake was associated with a 0.4-mm increase in endometrial thickness (10).
So, there you have it! Eight evidence-based tips that may help you if you have concerns about endometrial thickness or implantation success. Nothing is a magic-bullet and unfortunately ART is variable so please keep that in mind (AKA results are not guaranteed). But if you are looking for things to do that have research to back it up instead of an instargam influencer swearing by a remedy, I hope this was what you were looking for! Any changes to your diet or supplementation plan should be discussed with your health care provider before implementation. This post is meant for educational purposes ONLY.
For more fertility-friendly tips, follow along with me at @laurenmanaker_rdn on IG or email me at NutritionNowCounseling@gmail.com for any questions!