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Posted by on Jul 30, 2015 in Infertility | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study examined the relationship between dietary fatty acids consumed by males and asthenozoospermia

Some background

Both healthy and unhealthy types of fat can be found in food. Omega-3 poly unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s), for instance, include docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These healthy fats are found in fish, walnuts and flaxseed, and may reduce the risk of chronic disease. High intake of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) found in animal fat products and trans-fatty acids (TFAs) found in hydrogenated vegetable oils increase the risk of developing many chronic diseases. 

Asthenozoospermia is reduced sperm motility (movement), it is a major caused of reduced fertility and infertility in men. It is thought that SFAs and TFAs may affect sperm quality and motility.

Methods & findings

The current study examined the role of dietary fats in reduced sperm motility. 342 men between the ages of 20-40 were included in this study. 107 men were diagnosed with reduced sperm motility, and 235 men had normal sperm motility. 

The men produced two sperm samples in total, one month apart, which were analyzed. The patients also filled out a questionnaire about dietary intake and lifestyle.

Men with reduced sperm motility had a significantly higher total daily energy intake (2,650 calories versus 2,213 calories) and body mass index (BMI – measure of body fat that takes height and weight into account) compared with men with normal sperm motility.

Higher intake of SFAs increased the odds of reduced sperm motility by 85%. Higher total TFAs was associated with 2.5 times the odds of reduced sperm motility. This was also true for palmitic (found in palm oil, meat and dairy products) and stearic (found in animal fat) fatty acids.  

The higher the intake of healthy omega-3 PUFAs, EPA, and DHA fatty acids, the lower the risk of reduced sperm motility.

The one third of patients with the highest omega-3 PUFA intake had a 32% lower chance of reduced sperm motility, compared to the one third of patients with the lowest intake. The one third of patients with the highest intake of DHA were 47% less likely to have reduced sperm motility compared to the one third with the lowest intake.

The bottom line

This study concluded that high total fatty acid, SFA, TFA, palmitic and stearic acid intakes were associated with asthenozoospermia. A high intake of omega-3 PUFA and DHA were associated with a lower chance of reduced sperm motility

The fine print

This study was carried out in Iran where diet and lifestyle may not be comparable to the US.

The dietary information was collected using a self-reported questionnaire, these are not always accurate as people may not remember correctly or may not tell the truth.

What’s next?

Discuss any concerns you have about the effects of diet on your fertility with your physician.

Published By :

Fertility and Sterility

Date :

Dec 01, 2014

Original Title :

Dietary fatty acid intakes and asthenozoospermia: a case-control study.

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