Image A diet rich in nuts could improve male fertility the study suggests
07 July, 2018, 13:55
The results of a small study from a team of Spanish researchers is suggesting that adding a moderate volume of nuts to a diet could improve both sperm count and motility.
The results, presented at the 34th Annual Meeting of ESHRE in Barcelona, showed that a diet rich in nuts can boost sperm count almost 20 per cent, sperm vitality almost five per cent, sperm motility by six per cent, and morphology by one percent.
The study recorded not just sperm parameters, but also changes in several molecular factors, including sperm DNA fragmentation.
Although these are statistically significant results from a randomized trial with a high level of scientific evidence, Salas-Huetos emphasized that subjects in the study were all healthy and apparently fertile men following a western-style diet.
Infertility affects around 11 per cent of women and nine per cent of men of a reproductive age in the US.
Researchers based in Spain arrived at their conclusion by recruiting 119 healthy young men aged between 18 to 35.
Investigators say the findings "support a beneficial role for chronic nut consumption in sperm quality", and they say more research is needed on male-specific dietary recommendations. Nuts are part of the Mediterranean diet that is considered to be the healthiest diet for the heart, blood vessels and other organs. The study participants who consistently consumed nuts showed notable improvements in the vitality, mobility, morphology, and the number of their sperm - factors that are all associated with male fertility.
The study was conducted, according to lead author Dr. Albert Salas-Huetos, in the context of a general decline in sperm quantity and quality, attributed in industrialized countries to "pollution, smoking, and unhealthy diets".
Dr Salas-Huetos said the four parameters are all associated with male fertility. At the molecular level it has also been proposed that the genetic integrity of each sperm cell is essential for successful fertilisation; if DNA strands in the cell become damaged or fragmented, they will be unable or less likely to fertilise an egg and maintain embryonic development. Although these numbers are not especially high, the researchers added that the subjects consuming nuts showed significant reductions in sperm DNA fragmentation.
According to Salas-Huetos one of the limitations of the study was the inclusion of healthy males with normal fertility.
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