Sperm Count May Be Affected By Fatty Foods

By Emily Murray

Everywhere you turn these days you hear about the “obesity epidemic” sweeping the nation. While it’s no surprise that Americans are consuming more unhealthy foods than ever before, men you may be surprised to hear that your fertility could be directly impacted by your diet. If you are eating fatty foods, you might want to re-evaluate your diet if you are thinking of starting a family.

This information was recently released as part of a new study published online in Human Reproduction, a European journal.

The study was conducted by looking at 99 American men in their middle 30s and more closely examining their dietary patterns. These men were also participating in a study (ongoing) related to fertility and environment. During the time period from December 2006 to August 2010, these men were asked about their diet and semen samples were collected and evaluated.

Based on the total fat content of their typical diets, these men were split into 3 groups and when their test results were evaluated, the results proved that taking in a lot of fat can impact fertility. More specifically, the group of men in the highest fat consumption group had a 43% lower sperm count and 38% lower sperm concentration than the group of men taking in the lowest amounts of fat. To break this down further, researchers have identified that it is mainly saturated fat which is to blame for this decrease in sperm.

It may seem hard to believe that something as small as a sperm can be impacted by the over-the-top eating habits so many Americans have unfortunately adopted. When you look at it from a chemical makeup however, it makes sense. As the the study Dr. Sharpe (deputy editor of Human Reproduction ) is quoted as saying in a TIME article on the subject –

“It is therefore not unreasonable to imagine that the type of fats in the diet may affect sperm membrane fat composition which, in turn, may affect sperm function. To an extent, we are what we eat.”

Omega-3 fatty acids however tend to have a favorable impact on fertility and male reproductive health.

While the study has received some criticism for not having a large enough sample size, it serves as a reminder that what we put in our bodies truly affects how our bodies respond in return.