Our nutrition practice is evidence based and our team keeps up-to-date with the latest in nutritional science. This means you get the best advice and recommendations to support your health.
Our team, led by our Scientific Director Ciara Wright PhD, have a number of projects and collaborations underway, including several recent publications in medical and science journals. Listen to her podcast about her research and publications here
Fertility and pregnancy
Sperm health and DNA Fragmentation
Sperm DNA Fragmentation: modifiable clinical, lifestyle and nutritional factors in male infertility – read the open access paper here
Published 2014 in Reproductive BioMedicine Online
Sperm DNA Fragmentation can be present in men with an abnormal semen analysis but is also present in one of out four men with a normal semen analysis and is known to have a negative impact on male fertility. A major cause is oxidative stress – damage caused in the body by inflammation, physical issues with the testes, heat, smoking, certain chemicals, being overweight and poor diet.
- Recommendations are made to include a diet rich in antioxidants, such as zinc, selenium, vitamin C and E. These are found in fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds
- Analysis of previous clinical trials was carried out to determine the best use of supplements and whether they are useful and safe
- Recommendations are made for doctors, fertility consultants, healthcare providers and patients to test levels first before over-supplementing as this can also cause harm.
Lifestyle Factors and Sperm Health
Book title – “Male and Sperm Factors that Maximize IVF Success” published by Cambridge University Press
Published April 2020, book available for purchase here
Nutrition has a major impact on male fertility and can change parameters such as morphology, motility and sperm count.
- The current scientific literature was analysed for evidence on how diet affects male fertility
- A fertility friendly diet is advised which is high in fruits, vegetables, fish, pulses, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. A fertility friendly diet is low in red meat, sugar and processed foods.
- Moderate exercise is beneficial where disrupted sleep or shift work may have a negative effect
Supplements in Pregnancy
Safety and Efficacy of Supplements in Pregnancy in collaboration with Ben Brown ND – read the open access paper here
Published in Nutrition Reviews, October 2020 – highly regarded nutrition journal
- To provide evidence based recommendations for women, healthcare practitioners and doctors
- A wide range of vitamins and minerals are examined giving the advantages and disadvantages to supplementing in pregnancy, including safety for mother and child
- Doses are examined to provide accurate and safe recommendations for pregnant women
Nutrients in Pregnancy
The importance of magnesium in pregnancy – read the open access paper here
Published in Nutrition Reviews, September 2016
Magnesium deficiency is prevalent in women of childbearing age. The need for magnesium increases during pregnancy, and the majority of pregnant women likely do not meet this increased need. Magnesium deficiency or insufficiency during pregnancy may pose a health risk for both the mother and the newborn, with implications that may extend into adulthood of the offspring. This review provides recommendations for further study and improved testing using measurement of red cell magnesium. Pregnant women should be counseled to increase their intake of magnesium-rich foods such as nuts, seeds, beans, and leafy greens and/or to supplement with magnesium at a safe level.
Nutrition to support Assisted Conception
Presentations at International Medical Conference – Upper Egypt Assisted Reproductive Conference
Dr Ciara Wright presented at an international medical conference in Egypt February 2017. The conference covered medical updates and the latest research in assisted reproduction. Ciara was the only Irish speaker and only nutritionist to speak as part of 150 international delegates with 1800 attendees and gave 2 presentations:
Iodine and thyroid health
Assessing iodine status in front line healthcare – read the open access paper here
Published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Diet Care, November 2018
- Iodine is critical in the production of thyroid hormones
- Iodine deficiency is widespread and may contribute to high incidence of thyroid conditions
- Measuring iodine can be difficult
- Recommendations are made for doctors and healthcare providers on how to measure iodine more accurately
- An example case study shows how restoring an iodine deficiency improved thyroid function (hypothyroid) in a patient and completely restored symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, constipation and muscle pain
IBS and SIBO
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and IBS case study
In collaboration with Melissa Dooley from Gastrolife
Expected publication: 2020
- SIBO causing severe food intolerances and digestive discomfort
- Accurate measurement of SIBO in the gut by breath test
- Eradication of SIBO using herbal supplements and a low FODMAP diet
- Analysis of before and after symptoms using a validated symptom questionnaire
- To provide evidence to show eradication of SIBO and improvement of symptoms following our protocol
Obesity and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Development and initial validation of a short food frequency questionnaire for assessing dietary intakes of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients.
Published in European Journal of Nutrition February 2019
Collaborators: Professor Suzanne Norris, Hepatologist, Dr Sara Naimimohasses, St James Hospital and Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Carla Bredin MSc, Assoc Prof Bernadette Moore, University of Leeds, Dr Kathryn Hart, University of Surrey
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of liver disease in the developed world and is associated with obesity and increased intakes of sugar and saturated fat. The only treatment for NAFLD is dietary intervention focusing on weight loss, fat loss and a reduction in saturated fat and sugar in the diet.
Development and relative validation of a short food frequency questionnaire for assessing dietary intakes of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients
Patients attending the hepatology department in St James’s Hospital, Dublin were requested to participate in food diary analysis. No such analysis had ever been performed on an Irish population.
- Determined dietary pattern that is high risk for NAFLD in Ireland as high fat, high sugar, high processed foods
- Development of a shorter questionnaire (food frequency questionnaire) was achieved to allow for faster analysis of patient’s food intake
- This questionnaire was proven to be accurate and therefore ‘validated’ by comparing to gold standard
Expected submission of paper – 2020
Collaborators: Professor Suzanne Norris, Hepatologist, Dr Sara Naimimohasses, St James Hospital and Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Deirdre NiFhloinn, Assoc Prof Bernadette Moore, University of Leeds, Dr Kathryn Hart, University of Surrey
We undertook a 12 week healthy eating course in the hepatology department of St. James’ Hospital Dublin, led by Dr Ciara Wright. Groups were separated into control (no intervention), dietary intervention (12 week course) and exercise intervention.
- Participants on the 12 week healthy eating course lost body fat and weight
- Participants commented on increased knowledge and understanding around food
- Participants increased intake of fruits, vegetables, oily fish and reduced saturated fat, refined carbohydrates and sugars
- Participants improved liver scores and markers of liver health
Ongoing analysis of control and exercise groups
Abstract submission for Foundation of European Nutrition Studies Conference Oct 2019
Dietary patterns in Irish patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a cross sectional study
Abstract presented at European Association for the Study of the Liver November 2017
Poster in American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in San Fransisco, Nov 2018
Presented at Nutrition Society Meeting in Leeds 2018