Nuts for Healthy Sperm? Get Your Nuts Covered!

Western couples are very worried about the current sperm crisis. Last year a meta-analysis suggested a 50 to 60% decline in sperm counts among Western men during. While researchers agree that the causes of this continuing decrease should be urgently determined, few solutions have been proposed to resolve it.

Recently, the International Nut and Dried Food Council suggested nuts might just be one of the solutions to improve sperm health. The results of the study supporting this view were presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s annual meeting, held from July 1–4 in Barcelona, Spain.

Investigators from the Human Nutrition Unit of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain and the Autonomous University of Barcelona studied the effects of consuming 60 g of nuts daily in a group of 98 young men. The investigators studied various semen parameters and concluded that the consumption of nuts was linked to improved sperm health.

The rationale to conduct this study was straightforward. Previous studies reported that consuming healthy food rich in carnitines, folic acid, omega, and anti-oxidants such as vitamin C and E, selenium, and zinc, as well as omega-3 is improved sperm health.

The investigators hypothesized that because nuts were very rich in the above-mentioned nutrients, men who included nuts in their diet could improve their semen quality and functionality. They included 119 healthy men aged 18–35 years, who generally followed a “Western” diet. The researchers split the study sample into two groups: one group consumed 60g of an almond-hazelnut-walnut mix per day in addition to their regular food and the other continued with their regular diets.

The researchers measured the participants’ sperm parameters before and after the study period. These included sperm count, motility, morphology, and vitality. They found that men who consumed nuts during the 14 weeks of the study had statistically significant improvements in all sperm parameters compared to those who did not consume nuts. Furthermore, men who consumed nuts had a significant decrease in DNA fragmentation, which is a strong indicator of semen quality.

However, the investigators acknowledged that their results should be interpreted with caution for the following reasons:

  • The sample was very small and specific, including healthy young men who consumed a Western diet.
  • Other factors (smoking, wearing tight/skinny jeans, chronic stress, exposure to environmental pollutants, etc.) can affect sperm health; however, the researchers didn’t account for these factors.

Many Western men will be relieved if scientists discover the underlying cause of the continuous decrease in sperm count. Meanwhile, if walnuts can really save your nuts, why not go for it?

Further Reading

  1. Robbins WA, Xun L, FitzGerald LZ, Esguerra S, Henning SM, Carpenter CL. Walnuts improve semen quality in men consuming a Western-style diet: randomized control dietary intervention trial. Biol Reprod. 2012 Oct 25;87(4):101. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.112.101634.
  2. Moslemi MK, Tavanbakhsh S. Selenium-vitamin E supplementation in infertile men: effects on semen parameters and pregnancy rate. Int J Gen Med 2011;23:99-104.
  3. Camejo MI, Abdala L, Vivas-Acevedo G, Lozano-Hernandez R, Angeli-Greaves M, Greaves ED. Selenium, copper and zinc in seminal plasma of men with varicocele, relationship with seminal parameters. Biol Trace Elem Res 2011;143:1247-1254.
  4. Ross C, Morriss A, Khairy M, Khalaf Y, Braude P, Coomarasamy A, El-Toukhy TA. Systematic review of the effect of oral antioxidants on male infertility. Reprod Biomed Online 2010; 20:711-723.

Nick is a research-oriented fanatic, family man, and outdoors enthusiast who loves cars, boats, and fishing. He has a full-time job at a research facility in Cape Town, South Africa, and writes part-time because he feels the need to share his knowledge in terms that are accessible to the general public. Follow Nick on Quora: Protection Status