What nutritional factors interfere with male fertility?

Tempo de Leitura: 2 minutos

According to some data, the quality of human semen has deteriorated from 50% to 60% in the last 40 years. A high-fat diet and obesity, resulting from an unhealthy lifestyle, affects the structure of spermatozoa, as well as the development of offspring and their health at later stages of life.

In obese individuals, disturbances in the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis are observed, as well as high estrogen levels with simultaneous decrease in testosterone. Healthy diet models clearly correlate with better sperm quality and a lower risk of abnormalities in parameters such as sperm count, concentration, and sperm motility. In addition to mineral components such as zinc and selenium, the role of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant vitamins should be emphasized, as their action will be based primarily on minimizing oxidative stress and the inflammatory process. Additionally, the incorporation of carnitine and coenzyme Q10 supplements in therapeutic interventions also looks promising.

Male food and fertility

The Western diet is characterized by a high intake of animal proteins, saturated fatty acids and trans and simple carbohydrates, as well as a low supply of dietary fiber and essential unsaturated fatty acids. In addition, it is hypercaloric, pro-inflammatory and with low nutritional density.

A diet rich in processed foods and according to some sources, red meat, fatty dairy products, coffee, alcohol and sweets, simultaneously deficient in whole grains vegetables and fruits, poultry, fish and seafood, nuts and dairy products is associated with poorer semen parameters and reduced fertility. A high-fat diet and obesity, promoted by an unhealthy lifestyle, affect the structure of spermatozoa. Therefore, inadequate dietary patterns, such as meal omissions, insufficient antioxidant intake and high energy density were observed in infertile men.

Nutrition can negatively and positively affect semen quality. The diet should include vegetables and fruits, fish and seafood, nuts, seeds, whole grains and fiber-rich products. In addition, low-fat poultry and dairy products. On the other hand, the low consumption of fruits, vegetables and products with antioxidant potential and high caloric intake can be harmful. As well as a diet rich in saturated fatty acids and trans fats, low fish consumption, and a high proportion of red and processed meat have a negative impact on semen quality. All this can contribute to the reduction of male fertility. Therefore, a change in lifestyle, especially with regard to feeding, seems to be indispensable with regard to male infertility associated with semen quality.


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Article: Male

Fertility – Skoracka K, Eder P, Łykowska-Szuber L, Dobrowolska A, Krela-Kaźmierczak I. Diet and Nutritional Factors in Male (In)fertility-Underestimated Factors. J Clin Med

. 2020;9(5):1400. Published 2020 May 9. Doi:10.3390/JCM9051400

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