In 2010 Research by the World Health Organisation
estimated that 48.5 million couples worldwide
were unable to have a child.
There are many reasons why some people are
unable to get pregnant so is a diet void of
animal products one of them?
Well interestingly one of the reasons why
some women are able to fall pregnant is because
of something called endometriosis and studies
of populations of women show the risk of developing
endometriosis is much higher with the consumption
of beef ham and red meat, and much lower with
consumption of vegetables and fruits.
This study found that women having 14 or more
servings per week of green vegetables had
a 70 percent lower risk of endometriosis compared
with those ate fewer than six servings per
And those eating 14 or more servings of fruit
per week had a 20 percent lower risk compared
with women having fewer than six servings
A Harvard study found that increasing saturated
fat intake—found primarily in meat and dairy
products just 5 percent was associated with
a 38 percent lower sperm count and this study
found that quote “Replacing animal sources
of protein with vegetable sources of protein
may reduce ovulatory infertility risk.”
But let’s hear from Dr Neal Barnard as he
discusses this further.
Will a whole food plant based vegan diet lower
or damage your fertility, affect sperm count
and hormone levels?
Let’s hear from him now….The first was
done in Rochester New York researchers looked
at men, men who consumed the most cheese seemed
to have a hormonal effect.
They looked at their sperm count, sperm morphology
and sperm motility and it was impaired and
the question was could all these hormones
that were being consumed in the cheese be
effecting something as delicate as fertility
and the answer seemed to be it looks like
We’ve been doing studies over the years
looking at how foods can affect hormonal balance
in a variety of ways and consuming animal
products seemed to throw these out of whack.
About 20 years ago I had our first clinical
trial that had anything to do with pain, we
brought in a large group of women with menstrual
pain-cramps which you juts think of monthly
But cramps that were for them so bad they
could barely function on 1 or 2 days a month.
What we asked them to do was a completely
vegan diet, no animal products at all, keeping
oils very low.
But as they were coming in to this study we
said “if you’re taking birth control pills
those are hormonal and that’s going to goof
up our study because we want to see what the
hormonal effects are of the diet change”.
So we’re asking women that they not be using
birth control pills.
So one of the women came into the study and
she said “well I’m infertile I don’t
take any birth control whatsoever my husband
and I tried for years and years and we couldn’t
have a child we got evaluated” and she said
“the problem was me I’m infertile and
so that’s why I don’t use any birth control.”
About the second month that’s she was on
the vegan diet she came into the study and
she said “I’ve got good news and I’ve
got bad news, the bad news is I can’t be
in this study anymore, the good news is I
What we believe is happening is that when
your diet has natural fiber in it and you
keep the fatty foods out and you get the animal
products out especially the dairy your natural
hormone balance returns.
So she was pregnant and dropped out of the
study because she was pregnant!
I ran into her about 8 years later and she
came to a lecture that I gave and she had
But the other part of it is, when you’re
on a vegan diet every mouthful of food that
you have has fiber in it.
Fiber goes through your digestive tract and
that’s important because every minute of
the day your liver is taking excess hormones
out of the blood it sends them into your digestive
tract where fiber grabs a hold of those excess
unneeded waste hormones and pulls them out
with your body waste.
If you don’t have fiber in your diet because
you’re eating fish and you’re eating chicken
and you’re eating cheese, these are not
plants you’re fiber deficient and so if
there isn’t fiber in your digestive tract
then what happens is those hormones that the
liver pulled out of the blood and sent into
the intestines are reabsorbed back into the
blood and they become active again and so
you’re on this hormone haywire because there
isn’t adequate fiber in your diet.
You need fiber in your system and a meat based
diet is typically fiber deficient