– Too much green tea may lead to infertility.
– A handful of walnuts is the secret to better sperm.
– Avocados may increase fertility.
If you have been diagnosed with infertility or are experiencing other fertility challenges and are looking for a quick fix keep looking.
Perhaps editors think a catchy title will get more readers or worse, authors think they have a solution, but most of these articles are not worth reading. Fertility is complicated. Infertility can be caused by hundreds if not thousands of combinations of causes.
I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or pedigreed health care provider in any form. However, I am a person with common sense. I have read a lot of research, spoken to a lot of medical professionals, and heard countless stories of fertility struggles. Just as much as asking someone, “so when are you going to start having kids” has never ever caused someone to finally have one, I have also never heard of someone who just quit drinking “X” or started eating “Y” and was able to conceive easily after years of trying.
Careful reading of these types of articles shows that the links put forth and the solutions people hope to find are tenuous at best. In regards to green tea, “our study and others have shown that at high doses, it may have adverse effects” (emphasis added). Just how much tea may cause this effect? The tiny little flies in this study received 10 mg of tea. The average America tea bag has 2-3 mg of tea. 10mg for a fly! While someone some day may find a link between green tea and fertility, logic leads me to believe that 50 or 100 times the amount of anything cannot be very good for fertility. The authors leave out this comparison of size and simply conclude with the obvious, “we suggest that green tea should be consumed in moderation.”
What is most bothersome about these titles and articles is that people struggling through infertility can be truly vulnerable. Many will rationally ask themselves why not try drinking X, not eating Y or doing Z for that matter. If there is no harm, the thinking goes, just grab a handful of walnuts (link to article) and stop drinking green tea.
But the harm is that these articles are a slippery slope down an emotional hole that can lead people to start questioning everything and worse still – blaming. If only I had done X or tried Y is dangerous. Fertility seems so natural and we yearn for a simple answer that is uncomplicated and accessible. For some the journey is a short one and just a matter of time and trying. But for others, infertility is complicated and long winded and hard to overcome. No nuts are going to fix it.
To be sure, there are many common sense steps people can take that can increase their fertility. That is assuming one knows what is standing in the way and the step taken does something relevant to that situation. Healthy habits, a balanced diet and exercise are always a good idea, but methods of achieving a successful outcome vary from person to person.
Struggling through infertility, however, can be an emotional journey, a physical journey, and a financial journey. Keeping balanced, focused and whole means being careful of simple solutions lest our hopes (or wallets or medical conditions) be dashed in the process.
Let the researchers continue their work learning and adapting their gains in knowledge to improving our lives when causation can be found and treatment can be tested. In the meantime, these articles might be best read “in moderation.”
As for the avocados, I made that up. It sounded good and perhaps something in them is helplful. A couple a week pleases my palette, balances my diet and make me feel good. That has to help something. I don’t need a headline to tell me that.