The results also showed that the relationships between fat in the diet and semen quality appeared to be largely driven by intake of saturated fats.
Compared to the third whose diets contained the least amount of saturated fats, the men in the top third saturated fat intake had a 35% lower total sperm count and a 38% lower sperm concentration.
“The magnitude of the association is quite dramatic and provides further support for the health efforts to limit consumption of saturated fat given their relation with other health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease.”
Another measure that experts take into account when assessing male fertility is sperm morphology, or the shape of the sperm. Normal sperm have an oval head and a long tail. Abnormal shapes occur when the head is too big or misshapen or the tail is crooked or there are two of them. Such defects can affect the ability of the sperm to get into and fertilize the egg.
In this study, the researchers found that the third of men who had the most omega-3 fats in their diets had slightly more normal-shaped sperm than the third who ate the least.
In their discussion, Attaman and colleagues point out that 71% of the men in the study were overweight or obese, which can also affect semen quality. However they did adjust for the potential effect of BMI, and they also noted that 71% overweight or obese is not very different from the 74% in the general US male population.
“Given the limitations of the current study, in particular the fact that it is a cross-sectional analysis and that it is the first report of a relation between dietary fat and semen quality, it is essential that these findings be reproduced in future work.”
“Further, studies with larger samples are now required to confirm these findings,” they urge.
Copyright: Medical News Today