Healthy diet and semen quality

 
 
 

There is still a common but erroneous belief that infertility is a female problem. Male infertility factors account for approximately 30% of all infertility cases. The most common causes that lead to infertility in men are problems in testicles function (in about 40% of male infertility, the man produces less sperm than normal), but hormone imbalances or blockages in the tubes leading sperm away from the testes to the penis are other possible causes. In around 50% of cases, the cause is unknown (idiopathic infertility).

It is known that these factors can be harmful to the production of sperm: cigarette smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, sexually transmitted infections, tight-fitting underwear, and anabolic steroids. Dietary habits have also been studied as possible determinants of sperm function and/or fertility:

  • Diets rich in processed meat (for example: bacon, sausages, hot dogs), soy foods, potatoes, full-fat dairy, coffee, sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets have been negatively associated with the quality of semen in some studies.
  • Healthy diets, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, some antioxidants and vitamins, and low in saturated fats and trans-fats have been positively associated with good quality semen parameters.

Following a healthy diet could improve semen quality and fecundability rates.

 

Bibliography

 
 

Omega-3 and testicular volume

In 30-50% of couples with fertility problems the man has poor semen quality. The onset in sperm production begins at puberty, and once it has started, it continues almost constantl[...]