Diet has been suggested to have an influence on the quality and function of human sperm. More specifically, the results of a randomised trial have shown that including nuts as a component of a regular diet improved the quality and function of human sperm. These results are in the context of a general decline in human sperm quantity and quality. This study was reported in a ESHRE press release dated 4th July 2018.
The results of a meta-analysis showed a “significant decline in sperm counts between 1973 and 2011”, with a 1.4% annual decline in sperm concentration and a 1.6% annual decline in total sperm count.1 Therefore, any possible solutions to reverse this trend are of importance. To test the impact of nuts on sperm quality and function, the study investigators conducted a randomised clinical trial across a 14-week period. The study cohort comprised 119 healthy men who were aged 18–35 years old. These men were divided into two groups: one group supplemented their typical Western-style diet with 60 g of mixed almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts per day, and the second group (the control group) continued eating their typical Western-style diet without additional supplementation.
The men in the nut supplementation group presented with improvements in the parameters associated with male fertility measured by the researchers. Compared to the control group, the nut supplementation group displayed an improvement of approximately 16% in sperm count, 6% in sperm motility, 4% in sperm vitality, and 1% in morphology. Furthermore, the men eating a diet supplemented with nuts also presented with a marked decline in levels of sperm DNA fragmentation, which is a parameter strongly associated with male infertility.
The presenter of the study results, Dr Albert Salas-Huetos, Andrology and IVF Lab, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, said, “Evidence is accumulating in the literature that health lifestyle changes such as following a healthy dietary pattern might help conception, and, of course, nuts are a key component of a Mediterranean healthy diet.”