Recent study finds relationship between gut microbiome and fertility

March 9, 2021
Sebastian Krawiec

A preliminary study conducted in Japan found a potential relationship between gut microbiome composition and fertility in women.

A preliminary study conducted in Japan, and published in the Journal of Chemical Biochemistry Nutrition1 found a potential relationship between gut microbiome composition and fertility in women. The goal of the study was to compare the gut microbiota in female patients with infertility to fertile control subjects, then evaluate the effects of prebiotic partially hydrolyzed guar gum (10 grams per day of Sunfiber from Taiyo International based in Minneapolis, MN) supplementation on gut dysbiosis and the outcome of pregnancy in patients treated with assisted reproductive technology.

According to the researchers, fertility depends on the receptive state of the endometrium and hormonal adaptations as well as the immune system. Local and system immunities are heavily influenced by the microbiota, and dietary fiber can reconstitute the host intestinal microbiota to modify immune function, write the researchers. The current study hopes to build on the lack of clinical data regarding the effect of dietary fiber on the success of assisted reproductive technology.

In the study, 18 fertile and 18 infertile subjects were recruited. Analysis of their microbiome found that the abundance of the phylum Verrucomicrobia was higher in patients with infertility. At the genus level, infertile subjects had a decrease in the abundance of the genera Stenotrophomonas, Streptococcus, and Roseburiaand an increase in the abundance of the genera Unclassified [Barnesiellaceae] and Phascolarctobacterium. Twelve patients agreed to receive a combined therapy comprising embryo transfer by assisted reproductive technology and oral supplementation with partially hydrolyzed guar gum.

Success of pregnancy following the combined therapy was 58.2% and the failure was 41.7%. Some of the predictive factors for pregnancy prior to the treatment were characterized by the decrease in the abundance of Paraprevotella and Blautia and an increase in the abundance of Bifidobacterium.

“These preliminary results are very encouraging but need additional study to confirm the findings. It’s fascinating to continue learning about the importance of gut microbiome health. It’s only been a few years since conversations began about the gut/brain connection, fueling interest in whatever else may be influenced by gut health. We’re not surprised that researchers are now associating the gut microbiome with fertility,” said Scott Smith, vice president of Taiyo International, which partially funded the study. “Coping with infertility can be very costly, stressful and emotional. This is definitely an area worthy of future study.”

Reference

  1. Komiya S et al. “Characterizing the gut microbiota in females with infertility and preliminary results of a water-soluble dietary fiber intervention study.” Journal of Chemical Biochemistry Nutrition, vol. 67, no. 1 (2020): 105-111