Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 1st 2016 Contents B26
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, September 1, 2016
Women who drink 14 or more servings of alcohol
a week are slightly more likely to have reduced fer-
tility, suggests a study published by The BMJ today.
Low to moderate intake of alcohol, defined as one
to seven servings a week, seemed to have no effect
on women s fertility, nor did the type of alcohol bev-
But the authors still recommend for couples to
abstain from alcohol during their fertile window until
a pregnancy is ruled out, because the fetus may be
particularly vulnerable to alcohol during the first few
weeks after conception.
In developed countries, up to 24 per cent of couples
experience infertility, defined as time to pregnancy
of 12 months or more.
Official guidelines in several countries, including
the UK, USA and Denmark, recommend that women
trying to become pregnant should abstain from alcohol
consumption. But the extent to which alcohol intake
affects female fertility is unclear.
So a group of Danish researchers carried out a
large prospective cohort study to examine the asso-
ciation between pre-conception alcohol consumption
and time to pregnancy.
In total, 6,120 female Danish residents, aged 21-
45 years, were included in the study. They were all
in a stable relationship with a male partner, trying
to conceive and not receiving fertility treatment,
between June 2007-January 2016.
The study assessed overall alcohol consumption
as well as intake of specific types of alcoholic bev-
erages, including beer, wine, and spirits.
Alcohol consumption was self reported as beer
(330 ml bottles), red or white wine (120 ml glasses),
dessert wine (50 ml; glasses), and spirits (20 ml),
and was categorised in standard servings per week
(none, 1-3, 4-7, 8-13, and 14/more).
Each female participant completed bimonthly ques-
tionnaires for 12 months, or until conception occurred,
on alcohol use, pregnancy status, menstrual cycles,
frequency of intercourse, and smoking.
In women who drank 14 or more servings of alcohol
a week, there were 37 pregnancies in 307 cycles,
compared with 1,381 pregnancies in 8,054 cycles in women who did
While the sample size was large, only 1.2 per cent of women drank
more than 14 servings of alcohol a week, so the estimate for this
high level of exposure is imprecise, caution the authors.
This is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be made
about cause and effect.
The study did not distinguish between regular and binge drinking,
which is important because alcohol can affect the menstrual cycle.
And the male partner s alcohol intake was also not taken into account,
which is known to affect sperm quality. (BMJ)
New research from New Zealand s University of Otago
has found that giving breastfeeding mothers monthly
high-dose vitamin D supplements may be a possible
way to improve their babies vitamin D status.
Vitamin D is essential for calcium and bone metab-
olism and is mainly obtained from exposure to sunlight,
with only low levels found in food and breast milk. Risk
factors for infant vitamin D deficiency---which can lead
to the bone disorder rickets---include being exclusively
Study co-author Dr Ben Wheeler says many countries
recommend giving babies daily vitamin D supplements
during breastfeeding, but this advice was often not fol-
"We wanted to see if having mothers take a monthly,
high-dose supplement could offer another way to help
infants get sufficient levels of the vitamin," Dr Wheeler
In a randomised controlled trial, 90 pregnant women
who indicated that they intended to exclusively breastfeed
for six months were divided into two supplementation
groups and a placebo group. Four weeks after birth,
mothers in one supplementation group were given a
1.25mg dose each month for four months while women
in the other group took a 2.5mg dose.
The babies vitamin D levels were measured from
their cord blood or blood tests at the beginning of the
trial and then assessed again at its end.
Compared to the placebo group, they found a sig-
nificant and clinically meaningful increase in vitamin
D levels in the blood of infants whose mothers took
the highest dose. (https://www.sciencedaily.com)
High alcohol intake associated
with lower female fertility
Increasing nursing mothers'
vitamin D may benefit babies
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