Recently, a new Australian pilot study was released that focused on how fat affects male fertility. Published by the University of South Australia and the Journal Nutrients, the study links a high-fat diet to negative impacts on testosterone production. The head researcher on the project, Dr. Karma Pearce, found that “…it wasn’t the type of fat that mattered at all, as an equal amount of the good and bad fats significantly suppressed testosterone production” when conducting the study.
Regardless of the quality of fat, Pearce’s study determined that lower-fat diets may help maintain testosterone levels for men who are trying to conceive. Furthermore, they found that consuming egg whites and whey protein may in fact help increase testosterone levels, and even level out testosterone levels that would be lowered by consuming fats. Eating the protein found in egg whites, albumen, along with fat, even ended up resolving the testosterone drop that the researchers found fat to stimulate.
While the study looked into testosterone levels, it failed to test sperm quality and also only looked into a single given food at one time instead of an overall balanced diet. A systematic review published in 2016 by Nutrition Reviews looked into 502 articles and intensively analyzed 23 specific studies, focusing on how overall diet affects fertility and sperm quality in men. They found that a healthy diet improved certain measures of sperm quality, while diets that were high in lipophilic (high fat and lipid) foods, soy, and sweets tended to lower the sperm quality of subjects. They found that men who maintained high-fat diets or had obesity issues typically faced impaired reproductivity and fertility issues. These issues were not only through the physical structure and molecular integrity of the sperm, but like Pearce’s study also through lower testosterone levels. During this study, it was found that a higher consumption of fruits, green vegetables, fish, chicken, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products, and decreased intake of meat, processed foods, sweets, and high-fat products had the potential to positively affect the quality of semen
A beneficial diet that has a high amount of fruits and vegetables, rich in antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta carotene, can have numerous health benefits for male fertility. Antioxidants protect against reactive oxygen species ( a part of the killing response of immune cells), which negatively affect sperm mobility and the ability of the sperm to fertilize the egg. Antioxidants are also thought to have the ability to protect sperm against damage by neutralizing harmful organic compounds and preventing sperm clumping.
Overall, maintaining a healthier fertility diet is not only good for your general well-being, but if you are trying to conceive it can also be beneficial for your fertility and sperm count. Maintaining a well-balanced diet is a good start, but when trying to conceive, cutting out heavy fatty foods and replacing them with cleaner, antioxidant-rich veggies, fruits, and leaner proteins has been associated with increased fertility and increased chances of conception.
Figuring out what you should exactly change in your diet can be difficult. If you are unsure or have questions about how to craft your ideal nutritional fertility plan, Reproductive Health and Wellness Center is happy to help! We specialize in providing nutritional care focused on fertility health and well being. We have nutritionists that are experienced in crafting diets and routines that aim to optimize your fertility success and get you well on your way to starting or expanding your family! We want to provide you with the best plan possible, so call today to see how we can help guide you toward having a happy, healthy baby!
Fertility nutrition is a part of the whole body wellness infertility treatment approach that is offered at progressive fertility clinics like Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC), in Orange County, California. RHWC combines innovative fertility treatments like IVF, insemination and egg freezing with an in-house fertility nutritionist, acupuncture, yoga, therapy, support groups and spiritual guidance. For more information call 949-516-0606.