Fatty Foods Decrease Sperm Count
The research, led by Dr. Jill Attaman, a professor at Dartmouth Medical School, analyzed the diets of 99 men and cross-referenced those diets with their sperm count. The researchers also measured fatty acid levels within their sperm and seminal plasma in 23 of the men.
The 99 men studied were 89% Caucasian with an average age of 36 years old. 71% of the men were overweight (U.S. average is 74%), and 33% were smokers (U.S. average for men is about 24%).
After eliminating confounders, they found that higher total fat consumption was associated with lower sperm count. Those with the highest (upper 33%) total fat consumption had 43% less sperm count and 38% fewer sperm concentration as compared to the men who ate less (the lowest third) total fats.
As they looked more closely at the association, they concluded that, “This association was driven by intake of saturated fats.”
They also found that those men consuming higher levels of omega-3 fats – contained in nuts, seeds, legumes, algae and fish – had significantly higher sperm counts and concentration.
This study was confirmed by another recent study that found among 211 men that sperm counts significantly increased over a 32-week period with the supplementation of omega-3 fats. Sperm counts rose nearly 75% during the period and motility increased dramatically.
Other studies have found that drugs, alcohol and smoking are also associated with lower sperm counts.
Attaman JA, Toth TL, Furtado J, Campos H, Hauser R, Chavarro JE. Dietary fat and semen quality among men attending a fertility clinic. Hum Reprod. 2012 Mar 13.
Safarinejad MR. Effect of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on semen profile and enzymatic anti-oxidant capacity of seminal plasma in infertile men with idiopathic oligoasthenoteratospermia: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised study. Andrologia. 2011 Feb;43(1):38-47.