A: The vaginal microbiome is a balanced ecosystem whose composition and stability can vary normally by age and race, as well as be altered in abnormal ways during infection. It has many important functions related to disease prevention and interaction with the immune system which impacts a variety of things in the body, including fertility and pregnancy. Regarding nutrition, things known to alter the normal microbiome related to what we eat are external chemicals and obesity. Thus, ensuring a healthy and balanced diet along with adequate exercise keeps not only your heart healthy, but also your microbiome strong and balanced.
Reducing or eliminating added sugars in the diet is one of the most important steps and one of the first things that need to go are soft drinks. They add no nutritional value and add a significant amount of sugar to your daily intake.
What about prebiotics and probiotics? So much of the early research on the microbiome focused on disease, and we are just now focusing on how to influence it for health. Pre and probiotics have shown great potential in their ability to alter the microbiome and immune system, however, the large studies to show both safety and efficacy are still to be done. But I would say, “Stay tuned!” – the science is evolving fast in this fascinating field.
Dr. Jason M. Franasiak, Associate Chair, Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Board Cert. Reproductive Endocrinologist with RMA New Jersey. For more information on this topic, listen to the Creating a Family radio show: The Microbiome and Fertility
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