A new study being presented at the 2017 American Society of Reproductive Medicine annual Congress is suggesting that drinking red wine may boost fertility. Researchers from Washington University found that women who drank more than 5 glasses of red wine per month had greater ovarian reserve than women who drank less than 5 glasses of red wine per month.
135 women participated in the study. Their ages ranged from 18-44 years old and all had regular menstrual cycles. Women with a history of infertility, ovarian surgery, and major chronic illness were excluded from the study. The participants were asked to fill out a detailed dietary questionnaire and they had their ovarian reserve evaluated with an antral follicle count measured via transvaginal ultrasound. After controlling for age and body mass index, the researchers found that drinking more than 5 servings of red wine per month correlated with higher antral follicle counts. Beer, liquor, and white wine intake did not show the same correlation.
According to the researchers, the positive association between red wine and ovarian reserve may be due to the high concentrations of resveratrol found in this alcoholic beverage. Resveratrol is a naturally occurring compound with anti-inflammatory effects. These anti-inflammatory effects may have a beneficial impact at the level of the ovaries.
This study is in line with a Danish study published in the British Medical Journal last year. That study showed that drinking up to 14 servings of alcohol per week did not negatively impact a woman’s chances of conception. On the flip side though, the current Washington University study contradicts a larger study from 2013 that showed that drinking three glasses of wine per week reduced a woman’s chances of conceiving a baby via IVF. So, the medical literature continues to be conflicting in this area.
For now, my opinion, is that drinking red wine in moderation prior to conceiving may be okay. “In moderation” is the key though and I would recommend avoiding alcohol during an IVF cycle. In addition, women should still be careful to not consume alcohol near and after conception, due to the effects alcohol may have on a developing embryo.
For more information about the impact of alcohol and other dietary habits on fertility, visit our Lifestyle and Fertility page.