Diet rich in nuts may boost sperm count, motility

A diet rich in nuts could improve male fertility the study suggests

A diet rich in nuts could improve male fertility the study suggests

Other recent studies have linked improvements in sperm quality to diets rich in polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3, antioxidants including vitamins C and E, selenium and zinc, and folate, all of which are abundant in nuts.

As shown by research, the man who ate about two handfuls of a mixture of almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts every day for two weeks had more active sperm in the ejaculate.

The results of the study are being presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona.

In industrialised countries this has been attributed to "pollution, smoking, and trends toward a western-style diet".

This comes after a study last year that found there was a significant general decline in men's sperm counts - about 1.6% a year - in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand between 1973 and 2011. About 40 to 50 percent of infertility cases are due to infertility among men.

Researchers at Rovira and Virgili University in Reus, Spain, conducted a study on 119 healthy men, aged 18 to 35, and divided them into two groups.

The researchers say their findings "support a beneficial role for chronic nut consumption in sperm quality".

The men who ate nuts saw a 16 percent spike in their sperm count on average, as well as improvements in the overall health of the reproductive cells. Nuts are part of the Mediterranean diet that is considered to be the healthiest diet for the heart, blood vessels and other organs.

In the study, subjects randomised to the nut group had significant improvements in their sperm count, vitality, motility and morphology (shape), researchers said.

Those who regularly consumed nuts, scientists have noted lower rates of DNA fragmentation of sperm, which is a common cause of male infertility.

"Evidence is accumulating in the literature that healthy lifestyle changes such as following a healthy dietary pattern might help conception", lead author Dr. Albert Salas-Huetos said, via the BBC.

The study recorded not just sperm parameters but also changes in several molecular factors, including sperm DNA fragmentation.

"The fact that the study has taken place is good", said Virginia Bolton, a consultant embryologist at Guy's and St Thomas's hospital in London, "but we need to see this translated into an effect on fertility". But they also stressed that all the participants were healthy and fertile.

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