A recent study confirmed what researchers indicated 24 years ago: there is a dramatic decline in sperm production and the proportion of normal-looking sperm. What are the reasons for these differences in sperm viability? One factor has been established by a first-of-its-kind analysis by Harvard researchers and it explains how diet can affect sperm count and quality.
For the past decade there have been studies about the changes occured is sperm. For example, scientists researched more than 26,000 people over a 17-year period in a French study published in 2013. We observed a “continuous decline in sperm concentration” of 32.2 per cent over the study period as well as a significant decrease in normal-looking sperm proportion. That’s not good news, as these factors can have a significant impact on fertility and the health of any resulting kids.
There is more to it. A Danish research team found that mortality links the concentration of a man’s sperm. Of the 43,277 men without azoospermia (with no detectable sperm content in semen) who had been referred to the Copenhagen Sperm Analysis Laboratory for infertility issues, mortality declined as a man’s sperm concentration increased.
One measure all men should take to help maintain their sperm’s viability is to adopt a few supplements for men and dietary recommendations based on the findings of two studies: affecting fewer than 100 men; and a larger one (701 men), subsequent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
Reduce saturated fat consumption.
The larger the dietary saturated fat intake, the lower the sperm count. Overall, the authors found that men who had the highest percentage of saturated fat energy also had about 60 per cent lower sperm concentration and overall sperm count compared to men who had the lowest saturated fat intake.
Boost omega-3 fatty acid intake.
Such healthy fats are associated with sperm of a more normal appearance. Outstanding sources include fatty fish such as tuna, sardines, and walnuts, as well as supplements of high quality fish oil.
Greater consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables which are essential antioxidant sources, including vitamin C. Sperm are extremely susceptible to free radical damage, so it is important for viable, healthy sperm to maintain high intakes of antioxidants. This seems particularly true of vitamin C, which is almost 10 times more abundant in the testicles than anywhere else in the body. The balls apparently know how to defend themselves from free radical damage.
Further emphasis on the micronutrient-rich foods.
A research appearing in Fertility and Sterility analyzed the dietary and supplementary intake of micronutrients (vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, folate, zinc) to assess their effect on damage to sperm DNA. They found that older men (aged over 44) who had the highest intake of these micronutrients (with the exception of beta-carotene) had substantially less damage to sperm DNA.
Overall, a mostly plant-based diet that includes lots of items high in antioxidants and micronutrients and some foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids is recommended to help and sustain viable, healthy sperm.