Eating two handfuls walnuts a day could improve sperm health in young men, found researchers from UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. The shape, movement and vitality of sperm improved in men who regularly added walnuts to their diet over the period of twelve weeks.
Fertility experts believe that infertility in men may be a consequence of too few sperm being made, or that what the sperm have made, has poor swimming ability, size or shape. The good polyunsaturated fats found in these nuts are believed to have helped sperm development. Yet, it is not clear whether they would improve fertility.
Lead researcher Prof Wendie Robbins and colleagues carried out a study involving nearly one-hundred-twenty men aged between twenty and thirty-five, who were divided into two groups. One group added about seventy-five grams of whole-shelled walnuts to their daily diet. The other group continued their usual diet but avoided eating tree nut. Both groups consumed a typical Western-style diet.
They found a significant improvement in sperm parameters in the group that consumed the walnuts. The men who ate no tree nuts saw no change. Sperm quality improved in terms of concentration, vitality, movement, shape and chromosome abnormalities, sated Prof Robbins. About one in six couples are infertile, globally with forty percent of these because of a male factor.
Walnuts give a particularly rich source of a-linolenic acid, a natural plant source of omega-3, which they think may have been accountable for the improvements they observed, explained study’s co-author Catherine Carpenter. A fertility expert Dr Allan Pacey from the University of Sheffield stated there is increasing evidence to show that aspects of a man’s diet can affect the number and quality of sperm produced by his testicles.
The results of the study show a small but statistically significant improvement in sperm health. These benefits may be down to the fatty acids in the nuts, added Dr Pacey. The study was funded by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health.