FRIDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Diet can have a notable impact on reproductive health, a group of new studies suggests.
One set of findings: The more carbohydrates or diary a man eats, the poorer the quality of his sperm.
Similarly, two other studies focused on in vitro fertilization (IVF), and found that women who lowered their carb intake while upping their protein consumption stood better chances of becoming pregnant.
While the studies showed an association between diet and fertility, they did not prove any cause-and-effect links.
The research was scheduled for presentation this week at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine annual meeting, in San Diego.
The pair of IVF studies was led by J. B. Russell, of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Christiana Care Health Systems in Newark, Del. The two sperm studies were led, respectively, by Dr. Jorge Chavarro, an assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology, and research fellow Myriam Afeiche, both with the Harvard School of Public Health.
"[Recent] studies have found that there appears to be a downward trend in sperm counts throughout the world that spanned the entire 20th century, and more recent studies suggest that it may have continued into the early 21st century," Chavarro said. "While this is still highly controversial, if a downward trend in sperm counts is indeed taking place, the determinants of these decline are not clear at all."
"One of the proposed hypotheses," he said, "is that exposure to environmental factors, particularly environmental estrogens, [namely] 'female' hormones, may be the culprit. In addition, this downward trend has also coincided with a large number of changes in the population, some of which are known to affect sperm counts, most notably obesity."
The Harvard team launched two investigations exploring the impact of nutrition
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