16

votes

Is year round fertility a neolithic phenomenon?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 18, 2011 at 7:18 AM

In "Sleep, Sugar, and Survival" the author mentions that once upon a time babies were conceived in the summer because of the abundance of fruit and optimal vitamin D levels.

I've seen a lot of threads about birth control here, and I was wondering if anyone has tried this seasonal approach by not supplementing vitamin D, VLC/cutting fruit completely out of their diets October-April?

Or if they've noticed a more seasonal pattern in the conception of their babies after going paleo regardless of those specific parameters.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 19, 2012
at 01:32 PM

Yeah. What really struck me was his idea of the pill basically making our bodies use reproductive machinery far more often than it's "supposed to," and the effects that has on female hormonal health. (And also the breastfeeding for 2-3 years as opposed to 6 months, and how that...at least in theory...is supposed to keep that machinery dormant. But it doesn't always work. We all know women who've gotten pregnant with #2 while still breastfeeding #1. But that might be due to modern society -- increased light exposure, greater food availability, etc.)

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 19, 2012
at 12:06 PM

Interesting link. It's a fascinating example of the negative (and often unforeseen) impact of forcing our bodies to live in a manner inconsistent with how they were designed to work.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 19, 2012
at 02:56 AM

Wow, that article did not go the direction I thought it would, good read though.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 19, 2012
at 02:00 AM

Interesting, I've been wondering if there might be enhanced fertility in men during the same time.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 19, 2012
at 01:58 AM

Thanks, I'll check it out!

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 19, 2012
at 01:37 AM

Not sure if this has anything to do with it, but sperm cells use GLUT5s for sugar uptake, and their preferred fuel is fructose. Let's not leave out the man's part in fertility. Could be that fructose helps because it makes *sperm* more viable, in addition to whatever effect it might have on women.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 11, 2012
at 09:00 AM

The theory seemed to be along the lines of in an otherwise low fructose environment the sudden abundance would allow for women to develop enough adipose tissue over the course of the summer to support a pregnancy. Today I would argue we have tipped the scale to the other extreme where sugar is abundant year round and many need to avoid it to get their systems back into that sweet spot in the middle to where they are fertile again.

35e992a56378508f161d0d6df18d953b

on January 10, 2012
at 02:50 AM

wait wait.. " abundance of fruit... , fructose helps with fertility? :S "

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 19, 2011
at 07:57 AM

If monthly fertility arose with the campfire I would think cooking our food perhaps allowed for greater nutrient consumption from the same amount of food. So this opens the question in my mind: Are there any raw food paleos out there, following a seasonal eating plan, who have noticed that they conceived babies only in the summer?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 18, 2011
at 08:40 PM

I'm going to have to pick up a copy.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 18, 2011
at 08:37 PM

I can't remember now if they even go into ghrelin or leptin. I also hope they come out with an updated version, if only to edit for the authors, "The sky is falling!" tone. It is obviously a passionate topic, but I felt it detracted from importance of the data.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 18, 2011
at 08:31 PM

About 2 seconds after I asked this I thought, "But what about the tropics?!" I apologize for my 45+ degrees N. bias.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 18, 2011
at 12:12 PM

it's theorized that humans evolved in Africa pretty close to the equator where they don't have seasons like what we think of. Instead they have wet season and dry season, but it might have been different in the past.

Medium avatar

(2169)

on July 18, 2011
at 12:02 PM

I have no idea, but I'm really lad you asked this I was wondering the same thing just the other day.

71af94295988d55cd3b8340e619729d0

(255)

on July 18, 2011
at 10:33 AM

No answer, but +1 for a really interesting question.

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4 Answers

1
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 19, 2012
at 01:44 AM

This is only semi-related to the fertility issue, but it certainly hits upon a lot of other female hormone issues and is a fascinating read. Very long, but worth it! Really made me think about some of the "female troubles" going on these days, where they're all coming from and why.

It's kinda hard to read on the website b/c the column is so small, but you can download the pdf from the same link.

Malcolm Gladwell New Yorker article

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 19, 2012
at 12:06 PM

Interesting link. It's a fascinating example of the negative (and often unforeseen) impact of forcing our bodies to live in a manner inconsistent with how they were designed to work.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 19, 2012
at 02:56 AM

Wow, that article did not go the direction I thought it would, good read though.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 19, 2012
at 01:32 PM

Yeah. What really struck me was his idea of the pill basically making our bodies use reproductive machinery far more often than it's "supposed to," and the effects that has on female hormonal health. (And also the breastfeeding for 2-3 years as opposed to 6 months, and how that...at least in theory...is supposed to keep that machinery dormant. But it doesn't always work. We all know women who've gotten pregnant with #2 while still breastfeeding #1. But that might be due to modern society -- increased light exposure, greater food availability, etc.)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 19, 2012
at 01:58 AM

Thanks, I'll check it out!

1
03f5a69fde4012b827ebdb6d93b71e7a

on July 18, 2011
at 06:11 PM

Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives is a very interesting book, and discusses how we wouldn't have been constantly fertile (and had relatively very few hormonal swings/periods). I can't remember if it covers food though...

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 18, 2011
at 08:40 PM

I'm going to have to pick up a copy.

1
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 18, 2011
at 01:31 PM

I just finished this book a few weeks ago. It strikes me as very interesting, but I would like to see an updated version with new information and corrections. So little was known about leptin at the time they wrote it and there has been a lot of interesting information on other hormones such as ghrelin. Some of their theories seem highly speculative. And there are outright errors.

For example, they state that only carbs raise blood sugar, therefore stimulating an insulin release and fat gain. Well, protein also increases blood sugar (much less than carbs, but not insignificant). Even Dr. Bernstein recommends that diabetics shouldn't go crazy on protein, saying it can cause problems.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 18, 2011
at 08:37 PM

I can't remember now if they even go into ghrelin or leptin. I also hope they come out with an updated version, if only to edit for the authors, "The sky is falling!" tone. It is obviously a passionate topic, but I felt it detracted from importance of the data.

1
78fcdeee6ac4ee7d071bbac56b9e359f

(1035)

on July 18, 2011
at 12:56 PM

I'm reading this book right now and the advent of yearly fertility is one thing that is sticking out to me, as in "I don't know about this". I think Wiley is saying the change occurred with camp fire use, so it's definitely not Neolithic. For whatever reasons we have evolved to have a menstrual cycle instead of an estrus cycle and to have concealed ovulation. I think, as with most things, it's probably a little more complicated than-fire usage=year round fertility. This is a great question, I love all female related evolutionary theory topics, so I may have to research this one more.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 19, 2011
at 07:57 AM

If monthly fertility arose with the campfire I would think cooking our food perhaps allowed for greater nutrient consumption from the same amount of food. So this opens the question in my mind: Are there any raw food paleos out there, following a seasonal eating plan, who have noticed that they conceived babies only in the summer?

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