Dietary patterns and semen quality in young men

Audrey J. Gaskins, Daniela S. Colaci, Jaime Mendiola, Shanna H. Swan, Jorge E. Chavarro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Scopus citations

Abstract

STUDY QUESTIONAre different dietary patterns associated with semen parameters in young men? STUDY ANSWERThe consumption of a Prudent dietary pattern was significantly associated with higher progressive sperm motility and unrelated to sperm concentration and morphology. The consumption of a Western dietary pattern was unrelated to conventional semen quality parameters. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADYOver the past decades there has been evidence of a concomitant decline in sperm and diet quality. Yet whether diet composition influences semen quality remains largely unexplored. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATIONThe Rochester Young Men's Study (n=188) was a cross-sectional study conducted between 2009 and 2010 at the University of Rochester. PARTICIPANTS, SETTING, METHODSMen aged 1822 years were included in this analysis. Diet was assessed via food frequency questionnaire and dietary patterns were identified by factor analysis. Linear regression was used to analyze the relation between diet patterns and conventional semen quality parameters (sperm concentration, progressive motility and morphology) adjusting for abstinence time, multivitamin use, race, smoking status, BMI, recruitment period, moderate-to-intense exercise and total calorie intake. RESULTSTwo dietary patterns were identified by factor analysis. The 'Western' pattern was characterized by high intake of red and processed meat, refined grains, pizza, snacks, high-energy drinks and sweets. The 'Prudent' pattern was characterized by high intake of fish, chicken, fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. The Prudent pattern was positively associated with percent progressively motile sperm in multivariate models (P-trend 0.04). Men in the highest quartile of the Prudent diet had 11.3 (95 CI 1.3, 21.3) higher progressively motile sperm compared with men in the lowest quartile. The Prudent pattern was unrelated to sperm concentration and morphology. The Western pattern was not associated with any semen parameter. LIMITATIONSThis was a cross-sectional and observational study, which limited our ability to determine causality of diet on semen quality parameters. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGSOur findings support the suggestion that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish and whole grains may be an inexpensive and safe way to improve at least one measure of semen quality. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTERESTSThe authors are supported by NIH grant T32DK007703-16 and P30DK46200 and European Union DEER Grant 212844. The authors have no competing interests to declare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2899-2907
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Reproduction
Volume27
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Keywords

  • diet
  • dietary patterns
  • male fertility
  • semen quality

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