Quick Tip: Does a Mediterranean Diet Boost Embryo Quality?

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Yum… fish, olive oil, nuts, beans…that pretty much sums of some of my favorite things to eat and it’s part of what experts call a “Mediterranean diet“. Oh and let’s add garlic to that list too!

A really interesting study was just released which looked at how these “Mediterranean diet” foods may impact embryo quality.

Half of the study participants received olive oil to cook with at home, together with an olive oil-based spread and a supplement drink containing Omega-3 fats (EPA, DHA), and vitamin D.⁣⁣⁣

I know, why not just cook the food instead of taking a supplement… But I guess it was the only way to make sure that every couple got the same amount and to adjust for the placebo effect.⁣⁣⁣

The other half of the study participants received a placebo that didn’t contain any of the extra Vitamin D, Omega-3 fish oil, and got regular sunflower seed-oil to cook with.⁣⁣⁣

After six weeks, the women in both groups started their IVF cycles.

They found that the embryos from couples who received the “Mediterranean-diet” supplements were of significantly better quality than those who got the placebo.

There weren’t enough participants in the study to see if this improved embryo quality actually led to higher IVF success rates, so the jury is still out on that. But one thing we can conclude is that what you eat even before you start IVF treatment has the potential to influence embryo development.

And in the world of infertility where so many things are out of our hands, it’s nice to see that there are still a few things we can do to possibly improve our chances!

So, what’s for dinner tonight?


Kermack et al. 2020. Effect of a 6-week “Mediterranean” dietary intervention on in vitro human embryo development: the Preconception Dietary Supplements in Assisted Reproduction double-blinded randomized controlled trial. Fertility and Sterility, 113(2), 260-269.

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