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Does Your Sperm Need a Diet? Fatty Foods Linked to Poor Sperm Quality

Author: By Alexandra Sifferlin /Men's Health/Date: March 14, 2012

Gentlemen, you may want to hold the bacon. A new study suggests that eating a high-fat diet may be associated with lower sperm quality.

The study, published online in the European journal Human Reproduction, found that men who ate diets higher in saturated fat had lower sperm counts and concentration than men who consumed less fat. But men who consumed more omega-3 fatty acids — healthy fats found in fish and plant oils — had better formed sperm.

Researchers looked at 99 American men in their mid-30s who were participating in an ongoing study on fertility and environment, at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center. From December 2006 to August 2010, the researchers questioned the men about their diet and analyzed their semen samples.

The men were divided into three groups based on their total fat intake. The men in highest third of fat consumption (at least 37% of their total calories) had a 43% lower sperm count and 38% lower sperm concentration than the men with the lowest fat intake.

Saturated fats appear to be the star culprit behind poor sperm quality in this study. Men who consumed the most saturated fat (at least 13% of their daily calories) had a 35% lower total sperm count and a 38% lower sperm concentration than the men consuming the lowest levels.

Men who ate the most omega-3 fatty acids, however, had more correctly formed sperm.