We recently wrote about the effect of a low selenium blood level in men causing male infertility, and the positive effects of supplementation.* Perhaps it is not a surprise that the rest of the diet can also play a role
A team in Spain examined the diets of men who were analysed within 35 studies. Their paper was published in Human Reproduction Update.
Generally, the results indicated that healthy diets rich in some nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, some antioxidants (vitamin E, vitamin C, β-carotene, selenium, zinc, cryptoxanthin and lycopene), other vitamins (vitamin D and folate) and low in saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids were inversely associated with low semen quality parameters.
In terms of specific foods, the diets high in fish, shellfish, poultry, cereals, vegetables and fruits, low-fat dairy and skimmed milk reflected in good sperm quality parameters.
Diets rich in processed meat, soy foods, potatoes, full-fat dairy and total dairy products, coffee, alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets were detrimentally associated with the quality of semen in some studies.
The analysis also showed that a high intake of alcohol, caffeine, red meat and processed meat by males has a negative influence on the chance of pregnancy and fertilisation rates in their partners.
Although this review may show links or associations, it doesn’t necessarily mean that something causes or prevents infertility. However the study is helpful to couples planning a pregnancy so they can be generally aware of what could be good, and what could be bad for their chances. As suggested in the first blog post, if possible, micronutrient screening blood tests of males can be done to see if deficiencies are present prior to conception.
* EU REGISTERS ON NUTRITION AND HEALTH CLAIMS