Antioxidants, Diet and Sperm

June 6th, 2010 Comments Off on Antioxidants, Diet and Sperm

Can diet help sperm production?  We are what we eat, and the sperm factory is such an active one that it would be strange if diet didn’t affect sperm one way or another.

Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals, which are released from unstable compounds as they break down and damage molecules in cells.  (I’ve always loved the phrase “free radical,” which conjures images of 1960s miscreants running amok inside the body.)  Antioxidants soak up these bad actors and prevent their misdeeds.  But knowing which antioxidants work and in what dose is still being learned.  I discussed Coenzyme Q10, which may function as an antioxidant, in a previous post.

Jaime Mendiola and colleagues reported in the March issue of Fertility and Sterility that men with a lower intake of carbohydrates, fiber, folate, vitamin C and lycopene and a higher intake of protein and total fat had worse sperm than men with the opposite diet. I’d of course like to see studies which involve giving specific antioxidants first and then measuring sperm improvement relative to a placebo, but this is a promising start.

Bottom line: if you’re worried about your sperm, a diet higher in fiber, folate, vitamin C and lycopene, and lower in fat can’t hurt.

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