Better nutrition makes for better sperm

October 18, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- A pair of studies presented today at the 67th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) show a link between dietary patterns and semen parameters in men: in short, better nutrition makes for better semen.

The first study was conducted by an international team from the Harvard School of Public Health, University of Rochester and the University of Murcia in Spain. The University of Rochester’s Young Men’s Study recruited men aged 18-22. Diets were assessed via a questionnaire and semen quality via standard measures of concentration, motility and morphology in semen samples. Statistical methods were used to control for potentially confounding factors such as race, tobacco use and BMI. Using a factor analysis, the men’s diets were identified into two types: a Western diet, characterized by high intakes of red meat and refined grains, or a Prudent diet, with high intakes of fish, vegetables and whole grains.

Adherence to a Prudent diet was associated with higher sperm motility. Sperm morphology showed no association with diet, and after adjusting for total caloric intake, neither did sperm concentration.

In the second study, men attending the Fertility Center at Massachusetts General Hospital were recruited. They too completed food journals and underwent semen analysis. In addition, samples of a subset of subjects were chosen for more detailed analysis to measure the level of trans fats. The study revealed that a diet high in trans-fats was negatively associated with sperm concentration levels. In addition, it was positively associated with higher levels of trans-fats in the sperm and seminal plasma.

“We are still exploring the impact of on male fertility, but even these initial studies point to a link between a good and reproductive health for men,” said Edward Kim, MD, President of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology.

Explore further: Vitamin D increases speed of sperm cells

More information: O-27 Dietary Patterns and Semen Quality in Young Men
AJ Gaskins et al

O-48 Intake of Trans Fatty Acids and Semen Quality Among Men Attending a Fertility Clinic
JE Chavarro et al

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