Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_94340

Easy on the bacon for good-looking sperm

21 October 2013
Appeared in BioNews 727

Regularly eating processed meats such as bacon may have a detrimental effect on sperm quality, a small US study suggests.

Study leader Dr Myriam Afeiche, from the Harvard School of Public Health in the USA, said: 'We found that processed meat intake was associated with lower semen quality and fish was to higher semen quality'.

Researchers examined sperm samples from 156 men in couples who were undergoing fertility treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. The men were also questioned about their eating habits including how often they ate processed meats and fish.

Men who regularly consumed bacon and other processed meats had lower sperm quality than those who ate smaller amounts. The study also found that those who ate white fish at least every other day had significantly more normally-shaped sperm cells. Added to this, sperm counts were significantly higher for men who regularly ate dark meat fish such as salmon and tuna. Dr Afeiche said that it is still unclear how these foods might affect sperm count and morphology.

Dr Allan Pacey, chairman of the British Fertility Society and senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield warned that the results should not be over-interpreted. 'This may be a real effect, but the study is small and we know that accurately measuring sperm size and shape in the laboratory is fraught with error', he said.

Dr Mark Bowman, president of the Fertility Society of Australia also noted that sperm morphology is a complicated area. 'Not all different looking sperm are actually abnormal sperm', he told ABC News.

The findings were presented this week at the annual meeting of American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Boston. The study should be considered as provisional as the results have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal

Dr Pacey said that it is well-established that a healthy diet could improve male fertility but it is still unclear if specific foods could lead to reduced sperm quality. 'It is already known that high intake of processed meat is linked to other health issues and so advising men to limit their intake of processed food may improve their health generally as well as possibly be good for their fertility', he added.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Daily rasher of bacon can harm men’s fertility
The Telegraph |  15 October 2013
Exercise and fish may boost sperm count; bacon bad
CBS News |  15 October 2013
Meat intake and semen parameters among men attending a fertility clinic
Fertility and Sterility |  14 October 2013
Processed meat lowers amounts of normal sperm, study finds
abc News |  16 October 2013
Rasher of bacon a day can harm a man's fertility: Half portion of processed meat 'significantly harms sperm quality'
Mail Online |  15 October 2013
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
27 October 2014 - by Isobel Steer 
To improve chances of conception, men should drink a pint of beer daily, cut down on coffee, eat more fruit and vegetables (beware a coating of sperm-harming pesticides), and avoid vegetarian or vegan diets...
9 June 2014 - by Dr Barbara Kramarz 
Cannabis use affects thesize and shape of sperm, according to a large study on lifestyle choices, environmental factors and semen quality...
6 May 2014 - by Dr Linda Wijlaars 
Research in the Gambia has found that different diets, coinciding with rainy and dry seasons, influence a baby's gene expression....
4 November 2013 - by Dr Naqash Raja 
A fertility test which allows men to check their sperm count in the comfort of their home - or wherever they feel is most suitable - has gone on sale in the UK...
7 October 2013 - by Dr Lucy Spain 
Eating a hearty breakfast can improve fertility in women with a common menstrual disorder, a small study suggests...
2 September 2013 - by Dr Shanya Sivakumaran 
Two UK newspapers have proclaimed the fertility-boosting benefits of the raspberry, with NHS Choices branding the claims 'misleading'...
12 August 2013 - by Emma Stoye 
There is no evidence to suggest taking antioxidant supplements will help infertile women become pregnant, according a review of fertility clinic trials published in The Cochrane Library...
20 August 2012 - by Emma Stoye 
Eating two handfuls of walnuts every day can improve sperm quality in healthy young men, researchers have found...
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.