Fish oil supplements could make men’s testicles bigger and boost their sperm count, a study claims. Men who took the pills, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, were found to have testicles 1.5ml larger. The men, who had an average age of 18, were included as regular supplement-takers if they had consumed fish oil for at least 60 out of the past 90 days.
Larger testicles and more sperm creation are linked to higher testosterone levels and better fertility, although the study did not test how fertile the men were. The experiment was described by scientists as ‘well-conducted’ and ‘insightful’ but it was clear that it did not prove fish oil makes men more fertile.
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Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark did their study using 1,679 young Danish men going through military fitness testing. In Denmark military service is mandatory for all healthy men over the age of 18, so the men in the study were not yet soldiers.
Each of the men was screened for STIs, had physical exams, gave sperm samples, and then answered questions about their diets and lifestyles. If someone was considered a regular fish oil supplement user, the research found, they produced millions more sperm in an average ejaculation.
If someone was considered a regular fish oil supplement user, the research found, they produced millions more sperm in an average ejaculation. The researchers wrote in their paper: ‘Fish oil supplements were associated … with higher semen volume and total sperm count, and larger testicular size.’
Ninety-eight men in the study said they took fish oil supplements regularly, while another 95 took vitamin D or C supplements. Men in the fish oil group were less likely to have fertility problems, which were judged against the World Health Organization’s low sperm count limit of 39million sperm per ml of semen.
The scientists found that 12.4 percent of the men who took fish oil supplements (12 out of 98) had sperm counts below the WHO’s measure. This compared to 17.2 percent (192 out of 1,125) men who took no supplements. And the longer someone had been taking supplements for, the more sperm they were likely to produce.
HOW CAN A MAN’S DIET AFFECT HIS FERTILITY?
The body must get all the chemicals it needs from the diet, meaning what you eat controls your health. Certain foods can improve – or worsen – a man’s fertility. The general rule is that a healthy, balanced diet is better for fertility than one too high in sugar or fat.
Fruits and vegetables are good:
Fruit and veg are rich in nutrients such as vitamins C and A, polyphenols, magnesium, folate, and fiber, which act as antioxidants in the body. Research has suggested a direct association between the production of reactive oxygen species in sperm cells and the intake of antioxidants, which help to reduce this damage by neutralizing them.
Eat foods rich in zinc, selenium, and vitamin C
Zinc can be found in foods such as meat, cheese, shellfish wholegrain cereals, and nuts. Inadequate intakes of zinc in the diet have been linked to low sperm count and reduced testosterone levels.
Selenium can be found in foods such as brazil nuts, fish, poultry, and eggs. This mineral is required for normal sperm production and development and men should aim to get 55mcg per day.
Vitamin C is thought to help prevent sperm cells clumping together (common with infertility) and men should aim to get 80mg per day.
Limit dairy foods
Intake of dairy foods in association with sperm production is somewhat controversial but the theory goes that as around 75 percent of the milk we consume comes from pregnant cows, there may be a high level of naturally occurring estrogens, which could affect sperm production.
Limit meat intake
Although not fully proven, it has been suggested that meat and processed meats may impact fertility in men by way of xenobiotics (mainly xenoestrogens) used in the farming process. Over-exposure to these compounds, which have estrogenic effects on the body, may play a role in the decline of sperm quality in men.
Avoid excessive amounts of sugar
Excessive intake of sugary foods may lead to overweight and obesity, driving insulin resistance which may negatively influence sperm quality as a result of inflammation and oxidative stress.
Diets high in sugar can also lead to blood sugar imbalances which may disrupt the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis impacting sperm production. dailymail