In Uncategorized on August 24, 2012 at 11:03 am

Approximately 70 million couples experience sub-fertility or infertility worldwide, with 30 to 50 per cent of these cases attributable to the male partner. Some studies, have suggested that human semen quality has declined in industrialised nations, possibly due to pollution, poor lifestyle habits, and/or an increasingly Western-style diet.

One in six couples struggle to conceive, and it is believed that about 40 per cent of these problems are due to problems with the man’s sperm. But for men looking to start a family, what they eat actually matters in achieving this goal. For couples looking to start a family, researchers suggested that daily intake of walnuts might help improve their chances.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles found that men who ate 75 grammes of walnuts daily, this is about two handfuls’ worth, in addition to their regular diets, had an improvement in semen quality, compared with men who did not eat the nuts. This study is part of a growing body of evidence that men’s dietary and lifestyle choices can affect fertility.

The study included 117 men aged between 21 and 35. About half of the men ate the 75 grammes of walnuts each day for 12 weeks, while the other half ate a normal diet of Western-style food. Before the experiment began and then again 12 weeks later, their semen quality was analysed according to conventional parameters of male fertility, including sperm concentration, vitality, motility, morphology, and chromosome abnormalities.

After 12 weeks, the team found no significant changes in body-mass index, body weight, or activity level in either group. The men consuming walnuts, however, had significantly increased levels of omega-6 and omega-3 (ALA) fatty acids and experienced improvement in sperm vitality, motility, and morphology. Those eating walnuts also had fewer chromosomal abnormalities in their sperm following the walnut dietary intervention. The control group, on the other hand, experienced no changes, they wrote in the journal, Biology of Reproduction.

Walnuts are rich in omega 3 and omega 6, which is also present in oily fish, fish oil supplements and flax seed. Omega 3 and omega 6 are thought to be good for sperm development and function but are lacking in Western diets. It is the only nut with appreciable levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to better sperm quality in prior research.

Meanwhile, walnuts are known for a multitude of other health benefits. Aside boosting fertility, it helps to lower cholesterol levels, protects from breast cancer as well as fights against neurodegenerative disease.


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