Healthier Diet, Stronger Sperm?

16 Oct, 2013

Two studies show diet can affect mobility of sperm and quality of semen.

Salmon Stirfry

For years, nutritionists have rallied around the notion that “you are what you eat.” Now, new research suggests this adage might even extend to the strength and quantity of sperm.

What was found was that diets rich in red meat and processed grains seem to impair the ability of sperm to move about, and diets high in trans fats appear to lower the amount of sperm found in semen.

“The main overall finding of our work is that a healthy diet seems to be beneficial for semen quality,” said Audrey J. Gaskins, lead author of the first study. “Specifically, a healthy diet composed of a higher intake of fish, fresh fruit, whole grains, legumes and vegetables seems to improve sperm motility,” Gaskins explained, “which means a higher number of sperm actually move around, rather than sit still.”

Gaskin’s conclusions are based on work with 188 men between the ages of 18 and 22. Food questionnaires were completed, and participant diets were categorized as being either “Western” in content (including red meat, refined carbs, sweets and energy drinks) or so-called “Prudent” (composed of fish, fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains).

Semen tests were then conducted to assess sperm movement, concentration and shape.

Although diet seemed to have no impact on either sperm shape or number, motility was impacted, with “Western” diets linked to reduced movement, even after accounting for factors such as race, smoking history and body-mass index (BMI).

On a similar front, a second study led by Dr. Jorge Chavarro, an assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, revealed that men who eat diets that contain a relatively high amount of trans fat had lower sperm concentration levels.

Even after adjusting for a wide array of factors such as age, drinking and smoking histories, BMI, caffeine intake and total calories consumed, the authors found that although trans-fat intake appeared to have no impact on sperm movement or shape, the more trans fatty acids consumed the lower an individual’s sperm concentration.

Both these studies show that diet does, in fact, have an impact on male fertility. The need for healthy lifestyles is essential when shaping the quality of the sperm, and therefore the quality of the embryo and the health of the baby. To find out other ways you can boost your sperm naturally, click here.