Fertility news – Can diet affect your sperm quality?

The answer is yes!

Diet and lifestyle have a huge impact on male fertility. Bad diet and inactivity cause oxidative stress to the sperm, which means they are not as healthy. In fact Cambridge IVF clinic is the first clinic in the UK to offer an Oxidative Stress Level Test (ROS semen test) in the UK.

This is a significant step forward, as poor quality sperm is now know to be causing 50% of infertility cases (previously it was only thought to be around 20%).

Sperm produce small amounts of free oxygen radicals (ROS) that are required for normal function. Antioxidants present in the sperm environment keep these levels low. However, if this balance is disturbed, levels of free oxygen radicals rise, causing oxidative stress. This leads to sperm damage and consequently affects fertility.

There is only one recommended treatment for oxidative stress ….and that is a good diet.

Diet and lifestyle changes are the best approach for male fertility, but you will find that there are many diet suggestions available, but not all of them are based on science. A bespoke diet and lifestyle plan with a qualified nutritionalist will provide you with the answers you need.

What do we know about Oxidative Stress in Male Sperm Quality?
  • ROS levels can be high in men who have been tested previously and told they have ‘normal’ semen parameters.
  • High ROS levels cause sperm DNA fragmentation.
  • High ROS levels are correlated with an increased time to achieve a natural pregnancy.
  • 25 – 40% of infertile men have high levels of ROS and a reduced antioxidant capacity, compared with fertile men.
  • High ROS levels impair fertilisation, affect blastocyst development and reduce pregnancy rates after IVF.
What nutritional changes will help reduce Oxidative Stress in Sperm?

Randomised placebo controlled studies have shown that anti-oxidant supplements can reduce ROS levels and sperm DNA damage, and improve pregnancy rates. Increased levels of ROS may be reduced with changes in lifestyle and a diet rich in anti-oxidants.

To have a consultation with our Nutritionalist and receive your own individual nutrition plan please see Ellie Coston’s page.