NMU 151 – Diet and Sperm Motility
Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update No 151 (Feb 5, 2019)
with Dr. James Meschino
Topic: Healthy Dietary Changes Improve Sperm Motility and Quality in Men Almost Immediately
Source: Journal Public Library of Science Biology (December 2019)
A study conducted by researchers at Linköping University in Sweden provided astonishing evidence that simple dietary changes in otherwise healthy men significantly improve sperm motility (or movement of sperm) and sperm quality almost immediately. The study examined 15 normal, non-smoking young men, who, for two weeks consumed only food provided to them by the researchers. The foods were consistent with the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations for healthy eating, which are the government’s healthy eating guidelines for citizens of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The Nordic Nutrition Recommendations include a diet that contains vegetables, fruit and berries, pulses(beans, peas, lentils) regular intake of fish, vegetable oils, whole grains, low-fat alternatives of dairy and meat, and limited intake of red and processed meat, sugar, salt, and alcohol. During the second week, the men followed the same dietary guidelines, but with one exception, they also added some simple sugar – corresponding to around 3.5 liters of soda pop, or 450 grams (16 ounces) of confectionery candy every day.
The sperm quality and other indicators of the participants’ health were investigated at the start of the study, after the first week (during which they ate a healthy diet), and after the second week (when the participants had consumed additional large amounts of sugar). The results showed that at the beginning of the study, one-third of the participants had low sperm motility. Motility is one of several factors that influence sperm quality, and the fraction of people with low sperm motility in the study corresponded to that in the general population.
The researchers were surprised to discover that the sperm motility of all participants became normal during the study. The study showed that sperm motility can be greatly improved in a short period and seems to be closely tied to dietary practices. This has important clinical implications, especially for men wanting to conceive a child with their partner. Of interest is the fact that the additional sugar added to the healthy diet during the second week did not negatively impact sperm motility and quality. The researchers stated that sperm quality can be compromised by several environmental and lifestyle factors, of which obesity and related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, are well-known risk factors for poor sperm quality.
In conclusion, evidence continues to show that the dietary and lifestyle patterns followed by men impact their sperm motility and quality. Smoking, obesity, type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, nutritional deficiencies and marginal nutrient deficiencies, which are quite common across the population, tend to compromise sperm motility and sperm quality, reducing the chances of conceiving a child. This study showed that sperm motility and quality can be improved significantly in just a week or two by following healthier dietary practices, as outlined by the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations.
I have included the scientific references for this information in the text below
1. Public Library of Science Biology Dec 2019
2. Nordic Nutrition Recommendations https://www.livsmedelsverket.se/en/food-habits-health-and-environment/dietary guidelines/naringsrekommendationer/?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
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