What Role Does Diet Play in Male Infertility? It's a common question that my female patients ask on behalf of their male partners.
Infertility is a concern among many couples. It is defined as the inability to get pregnant within 12 months of having unprotected intercourse. When most people think infertility their minds automatically focus on the female aspect of the equation. However, about a third of infertility cases can be attributed to issues within the male. There are many variables that may be affecting male fertility, including diet.
What Role Does Diet Play in Male Infertility?
There are several ways in which diet can impact male fertility.
Hydration status is one of the first areas worth noting. How much water an individual takes in each day has an effect on all body secretions. Dehydration can result in a decreased sperm volume. That means less ammunition reaching the target. Each person's water needs varies based on their body's size and how much water they are losing a day, namely through perspiration.
There are several vitamins and minerals found in fresh fruits and vegetables that have been known to increase both sperm count (up the numbers) and motility (get them swimming). For example, vitamin C, found in bell peppers, oranges, strawberries and tomatoes has been shown to influence motility.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are also important contributors to fertility as they help create healthy sperm and reduce agglutination and viscosity (the stickiness). They “sticker” the semen, the less distance it will travel, which means it may not reach the egg in a timely manner, if at all. The EFAs also increase the sperm's ability to penetrate the egg, resulting in fertilization. EFAs are found in fresh ground flax seed, walnuts, salmon and herring.
The answer may not be diet alone as several factors can contribute to diminished fertility. If you are concerned about your fertility, you should seek advice from a medical professional.