Dietary Choices Linked to Male Infertility? Understanding The Impact

Recent research highlights the link between diet and male infertility, stressing the need for proper dietary habits (Image: Shutterstock)

Recent research highlights the link between diet and male infertility, stressing the need for proper dietary habits (Image: Shutterstock)

The role of diet in semen quality has been highlighted, according to studies published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine

Infertility, which is affecting an increasing proportion of the society, remains a significant concern for couples across the world. Recent research highlights the link between diet and male infertility, emphasizing the need for proper dietary habits to ensure reproductive health. According to studies published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, the role of diet in semen quality has been highlighted. With approximately 15% of reproductive-age couples experiencing difficulties in conception, and nearly half of cases being attributed to male infertility, understanding the impact of diet becomes important.

A comprehensive meta-analysis involving 185 studies and more than 40,000 men from developed countries reveals an alarming decline in sperm quality over the period 1973-2011. Sperm count, a major determinant of semen quality, decreased by 50%–60%. These findings indicate an urgent need to investigate the factors contributing to this decline and propose potential solutions.

Several studies have identified certain dietary factors that can negatively affect male fertility, some of which are mentioned below:

  • trans fatty acids
    Trans fatty acids (TFAs) found in fast-food products, salty and sweet snacks, confectionery, and processed and red meat have been associated with adverse effects on sperm morphology and metabolic pathways.
  • Meat
    The consumption of meat, especially processed meat, has been linked to reduced fertility due to factors such as high saturated fat content, trans-fatty acids and the presence of preservatives and hormone residues.
  • smoking and drinking
    Smoking, both cigarettes and cannabis, have consistently shown adverse effects on male fertility. Occasional alcohol consumption does not appear to negatively affect semen quality; However, daily alcohol consumption can lead to a decrease in semen volume and sperm morphology.
  • caffeine
    Excessive caffeine intake has been suggested to impair male reproductive function, potentially affecting spermatozoa DNA.
  • phytoestrogens
    Phytoestrogens, estrogen-like compounds found in some plant-based foods, have been associated with conflicting views about their effects on male reproductive health. Foods such as soybeans, tofu, tempeh and flaxseed contain phytoestrogens, and their effect on fertility remains a matter of debate. While studies are inconclusive, it is recommended to consume these foods in moderation.

To promote optimal semen quality and combat male infertility, lifestyle modification, especially in terms of diet, is important. It is recommended to include a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, fish, seafood, nuts, seeds, whole grains and fiber-rich products, poultry and low-fat dairy products. These dietary choices have been linked to positive effects on semen quality.