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High Fat Diet Linked to Poor Sperm Quality

A new study published online in a European journal titled Human Reproduction has released information that men eating a diet high in saturated fat had lower sperm counts and sperm concentration levels. Although men who consumed less fat had better counts, the study also revealed that men with better formed sperm consumed more omega-3 fatty acids.

“Diets containing higher amounts of omega-3 fat and lower amounts of saturated fat are associated with favorable semen quality parameters and may be beneficial to male reproductive health. Although these findings need to be reproduced, adapting these nutritional modifications may not only be beneficial for reproductive health but for global general health as well,” said Dr. Jill Attaman, author of the study.

A total of 99 Americans participated in the study and all of them were in their mid-30s. The men provided semen samples for analysis from December 2006 to August 2010 and answered questions about their diet. The results showed that the men who took in the highest amount, or around 13 percent of their daily calories from saturated fat, had a 35 percent lower total sperm count and a 38 percent lower concentration than the men who consumed lower levels.

This information does showcase yet another example of how what we eat affects our bodies. There is more research needed since this study is the first to examine the relationship between dietary fat and semen quality. Some other limitations to this study are the size of the sample group and the fact that over 70 percent of the men participating were either overweight or obese. Previous research studies have shown a correlation between obesity and sperm quality, but this study focused specifically on the effects of fat within the diet.

“The frequency of overweight and obesity among the men in this study does not differ much from that among men in the general population of in the U.S.,” said Dr. Attaman. While Dr. Attaman acknowledges the need for the research to be duplicated, the preliminary findings can definitely encourage men to be more aware of the foods they eat and inspire them to make healthier choices.

March 15th, 2012

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