Nuts have been shown to improve sperm quality

The Western diet has been associated with a progressive decrease in semen quality. Recent studies suggest that the consumption of nuts could improve it.

Last update: 02 May, 2022

In the last decades a progressive decrease in semen quality is observed in Western men. Therefore, various theories have emerged that propose that an unhealthy lifestyle is responsible for this phenomenon. A group of scientists tries to show that the consumption of nuts can help improve the quality of sperm.

Diet is one of the factors involved in the main diseases that afflict industrialized societies. Therefore, it is natural to think that this same nutritional deficiency is also related to the origin of the problems that affect the sexual sphere.

How is semen quality measured?

The study of male infertility is quite broad and complex. It involves a multidisciplinary approach, since the causes are also multiple. However, there is a laboratory test that is common and specific to fertility problems: the spermogram.

Sample taking

There are universal recommendations for collecting a semen sample. It is advisable that it be obtained through masturbation, after cleaning the hands and genitals.

The ideal container should be sterile, warm, and have a wide mouth. to avoid losing part of the sample. It is important to highlight that sexual abstinence must be for at least 2 days, without exceeding 7 days.

On the other hand, it is ideal for the sample to be taken in an intimate space set up for this purpose. If this is not possible, the transport must maintain a temperature between 20 °C and 40 °C.

Macroscopic characteristics of semen

The initial evaluation should be done as soon as possible. In this inspection, the following physical characteristics of the sperm are determined:

  • Liquefaction.
  • Appearance.
  • Goo.
  • Volume.
  • pH.
The spermogram is the standard test to know the quality of the semen.

Microscopic aspects of seminal fluid

The study of spermatozoa includes counting them, but their mobility, vitality and percentage of live sperm must also be determined. The morphology can be visualized with various techniques under the microscope.

For all this, small volumes are taken with a pipette. In addition, other cellular elements that are present in the sample and the degree of agglutination must be identified.

Factors that decrease sperm quality

Male infertility remains difficult to quantify. Therefore, it is necessary to determine the multiple variables involved in fertility problems in men.

We know that there is a possible relationship between some unhealthy but quite frequent lifestyle habits and low sperm quality. In addition, Western societies are exposed to various environmental factors that also have a negative impact:

  • Alcohol consumption.
  • smoking.
  • Obesity.
  • Inadequate feeding.
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • Prolonged and intense exercises.

Could the environment affect fertility?

Exposure to physical agents and chemical substances also affects sperm quality. Among the environmental factors that have an impact are the following:

  • radiation and electromagnetic fields. These include the waves emitted by mobile phones.
  • The heat, since it causes damage to sperm.
  • contaminants such as pesticides and solvents.
  • Exposure to heavy metalsamong which the most studied are lead and mercury, by causing damage to sperm DNA.

Walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds: are they the ideal nuts for male fertility?

Nuts are foods with great nutritional value, although its composition differs according to the type of fruit in question. They are rich in fatty acids, vitamins and trace elements.

Therefore, the current recommendation is to consume them regularly. However, the effects on fertility lacked a strong enough basis to link them directly to an increase in sperm quality.

Fatty acids are related to various important functions, since they are part of the cell structure itself. The variety of unsaturated fatty acids, such as omega 3, has a beneficial effect on the quality of sperm.

How was the sperm quality study conducted?

The investigation began after obtaining a population of healthy men aged between 18 and 35 years. They had in common the fact that they regularly ate a Western diet.

They were randomly separated into two groups. The first were given 60 grams of dried fruit to consume each day for 14 weeks. The second group served as control.

Western diets are nutritionally deficient Because of this, supplementing with high-nutrient foods, such as nuts, seemed reasonable to the researchers.

They used a mix of 30g walnuts, 15g almonds and 15g hazelnuts, giving a total of 60g, the equivalent of two handfuls of nuts a day.

Samples were taken at the beginning of the investigation and after 14 weeks. Likewise, sperm was collected after 3 days of sexual abstinence. Studies were also carried out that allowed the isolation of sperm DNA.

Two handfuls of nuts per day were used for this research, reaching 60 grams per day.

Improvements in the spermogram

After 14 weeks of starting the study, a significant difference between the parameters of the spermogram could be evidenced. In men who ate nuts there was an increase in sperm count, as well as an improvement in motility and morphology.

DNA methylation and sperm quality

The study was able to show a small but significant difference in the methylation of 36 genomic regions in the group of men who ate nuts. With this, it can be verified that external factors do have the capacity to modify the expression of genes.

These changes over time have an impact on fertility. Therefore, healthy lifestyles, including a balanced diet, constitute a fundamental pillar in sexual health.

The study is just the beginning

The research has certain limitations., among which is the small population analyzed. Therefore, more advances are needed to confirm these findings.

However, due to the many benefits of nut consumption on general health, incorporating them into the diet on a regular basis is a reasonable option. Especially if it offers the additional benefit of improving sperm quality.

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