Fatty Meals And Infertility In Men
This is definitely not a very good news for guys who frequently consume fatty meals, but according to a new study on the male infertility, investigators discovered that the high intake of fatty food is very strongly linked to low quality of sperms.
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1), according to which, it was identified that both parameters of semen quality (such as sperm count and concentration) were low in men who consume significant amounts of saturated fats in their meals, especially when compared against the men who prefers less fatty foods. There are some good fats too which are actually good for the sperm health. Such fats include omega-3 fatty acids, found abundantly in the fish and plant derived oils.
Details Of The Study Conducted At Massachusetts General Hospital
At the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center, 99 American men participated in a progressing study on the fertility and environment. These men were in their mid-thirties and were asked questions regarding their dietary intake, which was followed by the collection of semen samples. This research was conducted during December 2006 to August 2010 (2).
Based on the total intake of fat in diet, the study population was divided in three groups and here is what investigators discovered:
- Men who consumed very fatty meals (i.e. 37% of the total calories) reportedly had the lowest sperm count (i.e. 43% lower than the low-fat consuming group) and the concentration of sperms in the semen sample was found to be 38% lower than the low –fat group.
- Among nature of fat intake, consumption of saturated fats was found to be mainly associated with poor sperm count and semen quality. It was found that 35% lower count of sperms and 38% lower sperm concertation was reported in men who consumed mostly saturated fats i.e. 13% of the daily calorie intake.
Various prior studies have suggested that environmental and dietary factors are very strongly linked to infertility in men and in most cases, normal fertility can be restored with changes in the diet and lifestyle.
What Can Be Done To Improve The Sexual Health?
Investigators strongly believes that transformation of human diet over the years, and increasing consumption of fast foods, saturated fats and deep-fried foods can be held responsible for increasing prevalence of infertility in both men and women. On the contrary, changing dietary habits can help a great deal in boosting the sperm health. For example:
- Saturated fats are mainly unhealthy, but omega-3- fatty acids are helpful in improving the sperm health.
- Intake of fatty meals such as fried food, fast foods etc. leads to obesity which may further lead to subfertility in men due to endocrinological imbalance.
- Increasing the intake of antioxidants in the diet helps in reducing the damage caused by high fat diet.
The link between fatty food and low quality semen is the basis of many ongoing clinical trials. But it is imperative to mention that high intake of unhealthy fats can also lead to a number of other health issues as well; such as:
- Obesity: Higher than recommended body-mass index can lead to endocrine imbalance, difficulty in performing sexual intercourse, peripheral conversion of testosterone to estrogen, poor physical stamina; all of which may deteriorate male sexual health.
- Cardiovascular dysfunction: High intake of saturated fats can aggravate the risk of cardiovascular disorders; such as myocardial ischemia, poor peripheral perfusion and poor stamina.
- Atherosclerosis: Very high serum levels of bad quality lipids have a tendency to clog arteries due to atheroma formation. Peripheral artery disease caused by high lipid diet can lead to erectile dysfunction and other sexual disorders.
Needless to say that these health issues can also lead to deleterious effects on the quality of sex life and fertility of the individual as a whole.
1. Jensen, T. K., Heitmann, B. L., Jensen, M. B., Halldorsson, T. I., Andersson, A. M., Skakkebæk, N. E., … & Lassen, T. H. (2013). High dietary intake of saturated fat is associated with reduced semen quality among 701 young Danish men from the general population. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 97(2), 411-418.
2. Attaman, J. A., Toth, T. L., Furtado, J., Campos, H., Hauser, R., & Chavarro, J. E. (2012). Dietary fat and semen quality among men attending a fertility clinic. Human Reproduction, des065.
3. de Oliveira Otto, M. C., Mozaffarian, D., Kromhout, D., Bertoni, A. G., Sibley, C. T., Jacobs, D. R., & Nettleton, J. A. (2012). Dietary intake of saturated fat by food source and incident cardiovascular disease: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 96(2), 397-404.
4. Nordestgaard, B. G., Chapman, M. J., Humphries, S. E., Ginsberg, H. N., Masana, L., Descamps, O. S., … & Wiegman, A. (2013). Familial hypercholesterolaemia is underdiagnosed and undertreated in the general population: guidance for clinicians to prevent coronary heart disease. European heart journal, 34(45), 3478-3490.