Improving the quantity of sperm

Health, Nutrition

How to improve the quantity and quality of sperm

A study by Dr Albert Salas-Huetos from the Human Nutrition Unit (Universitat Rovira i Virgil in Reus, Spain) shows the positive effects of eating nuts on men’s sperm.

The study was a 14-week randomised clinical trial in which 119 healthy young men aged 18-35 were allocated to either their usual western-style diet supplemented with 60 grams/day of mixed almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts, or their usual western-style diet without nuts.

Improvements in the former group were by around 16% in sperm count, 4% in sperm vitality, 6% in sperm motility, and 1% in morphology. Dr Salas-Huetos says it is too early to draw conclusions and more research needs to be done.

Yet including nuts in our diet is good for many reasons, regardless of whether you are a man or a woman. Nuts are packed with protein, fibre and essential fats, as well as a mix of valuable vitamins and minerals. So whether you are concerned about fertility or not, eating nuts on a daily basis can make a significant contribution to good health. Do be aware that nuts are high in calories, so if you just add them to your diet, you will probably put on weight. Instead replace a less nutritious snack with the nuts.

There is more general advice from wikiHow:

“The first thing you should do to increase your sperm volume is tweak your diet so you’re eating more vegetables and whole grains and less processed, fatty foods. Eat foods with a lot of vitamin C, and try to eat 300 micrograms of folic acid a day. Once your diet is in check, avoid lifestyle habits that lower sperm volume, like smoking and not getting 8 hours of sleep every night. “

Causes of low sperm count

So, what is causing the low sperm count in so many men? Sperm counts in men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand have dropped by more than 50 percent in less than 40 years, and many other countries are seeing similar reductions. This research isn’t pointing to a shortage of nuts causing problem with sperm. After all 40 years ago nuts were a festive treat for most people and not eaten every day. It is more likely that nuts counteract the damage caused by other changes in our lives.

Our diets have changes massively in the last 40 years and so has the environment. One major explanation for the drop in quantity and quality of sperm is the ‘the oestrogen hypothesis’. Many chemicals in our food, fertilisers and industrial cleaners are chemically similar to the female sex hormone oestrogen. This may have adverse effects on oestrogen-sensitive areas of the body, such as the reproductive tracts, breast, womb and possibly the developing foetus, as well as the quantity and quality of sperm.

The drop in sperm count suggests we are engaging in dangerous behaviour as a society. Our understanding of the environment and the impact of the thousands of chemicals that we are exposed to needs to be addressed urgently. On a personal level eating nuts on a daily basis could help counteract the harmful effects of some of these chemicals.  They also make a very tasty snack!