In a nutshell
This study looked at how a diet change and exercise program impacted the fertility of men living in polluted areas. It found that a healthy diet and exercise improved sperm quality in these men.
Fertility is an indicator of overall health. A healthful diet and regular physical exercise can support both fertility and overall health. In particular, men who follow a Mediterranean diet have better sperm quality on average. This diet emphasizes vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive oil. The vegetables in this diet contain plant antioxidants. These antioxidants protect sperm from damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS).
ROS are produced during normal metabolism. However, pollutants can increase the amount of ROS. Fertility tends to be lower for people exposed to industrial pollution, pesticides, or excessive car pollution. It is not clear whether a Mediterranean diet and an exercise program can improve fertility for men living in polluted areas.
Methods & findings
This study included 263 young men who were living in polluted areas of Italy. All of the participants were between ages 18 and 22. 137 of the men were randomly assigned to the nutritionist group. These participants met regularly with a nutritionist over four months to adopt a Mediterranean diet and exercise regime. The other participants were given a pamphlet on general health guidelines.
The men were given surveys of their diet. After four months, there was much more improvement in diet for the group working with nutritionists. The comparison group also had some improvement in diet.
Initially, the two groups had similar sperm quality. After four months, the nutritionist group had a significantly higher concentration of sperm. Also, significantly more sperm could move in a straight line (motility) and had a normal shape for the nutritionist group.
The bottom line
This study found that working with a nutritionist improved the adherence to a healthy diet and exercise program and improved sperm quality for young men living in polluted areas.
The fine print
This trial had a short follow-up period. All participants were young, healthy men. Other trials including other age categories are still needed.
Talk to your health care provider or nutritionist about whether altering your diet and exercise habits can improve your fertility.
Published By :
European urology focus
Feb 10, 2021