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Saturated fat linked to low sperm count

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th January 2013 06:16 PM

Saturated fats, like those found in rich cheeses and meats, may do more than weigh men down after a meal. Another study has also linked these fats to dwindling sperm count.

Saturated fats, like those found in rich cheeses and meats, may do more than weigh men down after a meal. Another study has also linked these fats to dwindling sperm count.

By Vision Reporter

Saturated fats, like those found in rich cheeses and meats, may do more than weigh men down after a meal. Another study has also linked these fats to dwindling sperm count.

Researchers, whose report appeared in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that young men who ate the most saturated fats had a 38% lower concentration of sperm, and 41% lower sperm count in their semen, than those who ate the least fat.

The research is not the first to connect diet and other lifestyle factors to sperm production and quality. In 2011, Brazilian researchers found that eating more grains — such as wheat, oats or barley — was associated with improved sperm concentration and mobility. Fruit was also linked to a speed and agility boost in sperm.

Although the study cannot determine whether other lifestyle factors might account for the link, the team that led the study says the findings may partially explain studies that have found sperm counts decreasing around the world.

Last year, French researchers reported the number of sperm in one millilitre of the average 35-year-old Frenchman’s semen fell from about 74 million in 1989 to about 50 million in 2005.

The World Health Organisation defines anything over 15 million sperm per millilitre of semen as normal. In the study, 13% of men in the lowest-fat group and 18% of men in the highest-fat group fell below that level.

The next step is to find the mechanism by which saturated fat could influence sperm count, and then to see whether sperm count improves when men cut down on saturated fat in their diets. 

Researchers, whose report appeared in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that young men who ate the most saturated fats had a 38% lower concentration of sperm, and 41% lower sperm count in their semen, than those who ate the least fat.

The research is not the first to connect diet and other lifestyle factors to sperm production and quality. In 2011, Brazilian researchers found that eating more grains — such as wheat, oats or barley — was associated with improved sperm concentration and mobility. Fruit was also linked to a speed and agility boost in sperm.

Although the study cannot determine whether other lifestyle factors might account for the link, the team that led the study says the findings may partially explain studies that have found sperm counts decreasing around the world.

Last year, French researchers reported the number of sperm in one millilitre of the average 35-year-old Frenchman’s semen fell from about 74 million in 1989 to about 50 million in 2005.

The World Health Organisation defines anything over 15 million sperm per millilitre of semen as normal. In the study, 13% of men in the lowest-fat group and 18% of men in the highest-fat group fell below that level.

The next step is to find the mechanism by which saturated fat could influence sperm count, and then to see whether sperm count improves when men cut down on saturated fat in their diets. 

Saturated fat linked to low sperm count

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