Jump to Main Content
Effects of Nutrition on Reproductive Capability
- Margaret,, Wynn, Arthur
- biosynthesis, blood, conception, embryogenesis, endocrine system, females, folic acid, food shortages, hormones, hypothalamus, lactation, liver, low calorie diet, magnesium, male fertility, males, malnutrition, minerals, nutrients, nutritional status, placenta, pregnancy, pyridoxine, secretion, zinc, Europe
- The endocrine system is sensitive to nutritional status. The hypothalamus reacts to poor nutrition by reduced secretion of hormones which normally stimulate the release of pituitary hormones essential for fertility of male and female, for embryonic development and by secretion of hormones which inhibit the release of other hormones controlling growth and lactation. The secretion of hormones by the pituitary, ovaries and liver is also directly inhibited by different degrees of nutritional inadequacy on varying timescales. The hypothalamic-pituitary system is inhibited by caloric restriction, and by deficiencies of vitamins such as pyridoxine and folic acid, and by deficiencies of minerals such as zinc and magnesium. Extensive epidemiological data from Europe in times of food shortage show that maternal malnutrition around the time of conception is much more damaging to the outcome of pregnancy than maternal malnutrition during the last two trimesters. The embryo during the first eight weeks of gestation, before the development of the placenta and fetal biosynthetic capacity, is dependent on a supply of essential nutrients in the right concentration and on a balanced supply of hormones and biochemical precursors from maternal blood.