Gaskins stressed, however, that more work is needed to better understand exactly how nutrition can affect sperm.
"This was a small study, and we don't know if there's something else about the men that causes them to have worse motility," she noted. "We don't know if nutrition actually causes the change. So, for now all we can say is that there's an association between nutrition and sperm quality."
On a similar front, a second study led by Dr. Jorge Chavarro, an assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, revealed that men who eat diets that contain a relatively high amount of trans fat had lower sperm concentration levels. What's more, the amount of trans fat found in their sperm and semen went up.
The conclusion was drawn from work with nearly 100 men, all of whom underwent a nutritional and semen quality analysis.
Even after adjusting for a wide array of factors such as age, drinking and smoking histories, BMI, caffeine intake and total calories consumed, the authors found that although trans-fat intake appeared to have no impact on sperm movement of shape, the more trans fatty acids consumed the lower an individual's sperm concentration.
Dr. Edward Kim, from the University of Tennessee's graduate school of medicine in Knoxville, reacted to both studies with enthusiasm and caution.
"I think that this research is certainly very suggestive that dietary factors may have an impact on male infertility," said Kim, who also serves as president of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology.
"And the studies point us in a direction that suggest that a healthy lifestyle may correlate with better quality sperm," he added. "But clearly further research in this area is needed to come up with definitive conclusions."
Because both studies were presented at a medical meeting, the da
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