Study says nuts may boost male fertility

Nuts are rich in omega-3, antioxidants, and folate.

According to researchers, a scientific trial conducted showed that eating nuts "significantly" boosted the number and health of sperm in young men.

The results, presented at the 34th Annual Meeting of ESHRE in Barcelona, showed that a diet rich in nuts can boost sperm count almost 20 per cent, sperm vitality almost five per cent, sperm motility by six per cent, and morphology by one percent. "In addition, nut group subjects also showed a significant reduction in their sperm DNA fragmentation rate, a parameter closely associated with male infertility", explained Dr. Albert Salas-Huetos, the leading author of the study.

About one in seven couples have difficulty getting pregnant and about 40-50% of cases of infertility are attributable to men.

A total of 119 healthy men between the ages 18 and 35 were studied for the test before the researchers came to this conclusion.

Although the findings support hopeful fathers adding nuts to their diets, the researchers stress the study was carried out on healthy men who ate a western diet and therefore the results may not apply to all.

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They found a 16 percent increase in sperm count from those who had the nuts. Nuts are part of the Mediterranean diet that is considered to be the healthiest diet for the heart, blood vessels and other organs. They also had reduced DNA fragmentation, which is a measure of sperm damage.

"Evidence is accumulating in the literature that healthy lifestyle changes such as following a healthy dietary pattern might help conception", said Dr Albert Salas-Huetos, from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, in Spain, who led the study.

The decline in sperm concentration was put at -1.4% per year and in total sperm count at -1.6% per year.

Dr Salas-Huetos said he couldn't advise nut supplements for men attempting to conceive "based exclusively on the results of this study".

He added that a potential flaw in the study was that it was impossible to eat nuts "blind".

"The fact that the study has taken place is good", said Virginia Bolton, a consultant embryologist at Guy's and St Thomas's hospital in London, "but we need to see this translated into an effect on fertility". In a press release, he stresses that the results may not necessarily apply to the general population, since all of the study participants were healthy and fertile.

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