Men who eat nuts are more fertile: Almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts improve quality of semen and boost sperm count and motility, study finds
- Researchers evaluated the effect of consuming of a mixture of tree nuts in men
- They found almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts to a normal diet can keep men fertile
- Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and folate, which benefit sperm
Men who add a handful of nuts to their diet can increase their sperm quality and fertility, a new study shows.
Spanish researchers compared men who were fed a mixture of tree nuts – almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts – over 14 weeks as a supplement to their standard Western diet with those who weren’t.
The inclusion of this nut mix for 14 weeks significantly improved the sperm count, viability, motility (its ability to move independently) and morphology (length of the head and tail), they found.
Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and the B vitamin folate, which has been linked with fewer sperm abnormalities.
The study is an indicator that adding nuts to a basic British diet can modulate male fertility and has an effect on sperm’s ‘epigenetics’ – changes in our gene expression.
A handful of almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts (pictured) every day boosts men’s sperm production and morphology
‘This work demonstrates that there are some sensitive regions of the sperm epigenome that respond to diet, and which can result in changes in sperm and in its ability to fertilise,’ said study author Albert Salas-Huetos at Harvard University.
EPIGENETICS: THE SCIENCE OF ALTERING EXPRESSIONS OF CERTAIN GENES
Epigenetics is a field of molecular science which involves altering the expression of certain genes.
It is defined as: ‘The study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.’
Instead of changing the genes present in a living thing, it changes which of its genes are ‘turned on’.
Environmental and lifestyle factors have been blamed for the decline of sperm quality, including diet and smoking.
Prior studies have reported a close association between the alteration of specific sperm signatures and semen quality.
For their study, Salas-Huetos and colleagues analysed DNA methylation, an epigenetic marker that tells genes to switch on or off.
DNA methylation adds a methyl group – CH3, a carbon atom with three bonded hydrogen atoms – to a specific region of DNA.
The presence of this molecular group then alters a gene’s expression and can turn off harmful genes, such as those associated with cancer.
This study was conducted with 72 healthy young male participants, all of whom were non-smokers.
Most of the participants – 48 in all – were assigned to the ‘nut’ group, while the remaining 24 participants were assigned to the control group and didn’t get a…