Study finds lower sperm count in vegetarians

A study into sperm count and diet found vegetarian men to have significantly lower sperm motility and concentration.

The study ‘Decreased Sperm Concentration and Motility in a Subpopulation of Vegetarian Males at a Designated Blue Zone Geographic Region’, conducted by the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California found vegetarians and vegans had 33% sperm fertility as opposed to 58% for meat-eaters and lower average sperm concentrations (51 million/millilitre as opposed to 70 million/millilitre of an omnivore).

The retrospective study looked at the semen of 26 vegetarians, five vegans and 443 non-vegetarians between 2009 and 2013. Researcher Dr Eliza Orzylowska, an obstetrician at Loma Linda University Medical Centre, commented on the results: “We found that diet does significantly affect sperm quality. Vegetarian and vegan diets were associated with much lower sperm counts than omnivorous diets.

“Although these people are not infertile, it is likely to play a factor in conception, particularly for couples who are trying to conceive naturally, the old-fashioned way.”

Loma University concluded that, although more research is needed, higher levels of oestrogen and/or chemical residues in the vegetarians’ diets could be a cause for poorer sperm abilities.

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