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J Nutr. 2014 Jul;144(7):1091-8. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.190173. Epub 2014 May 21.

Processed meat intake is unfavorably and fish intake favorably associated with semen quality indicators among men attending a fertility clinic.

Author information

1
Department of Nutrition mafeiche@hsph.harvard.edu.
2
Department of Nutrition Department of Epidemiology, and.
3
Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
4
Vincent Obstetrics and Gynecology and.
5
Department of Urology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
6
Department of Epidemiology, and Vincent Obstetrics and Gynecology and Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA; and.
7
Department of Nutrition Department of Epidemiology, and Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Abstract

Emerging literature suggests that men's diets may affect spermatogenesis as reflected in semen quality indicators, but literature on the relation between meat intake and semen quality is limited. Our objective was to prospectively examine the relation between meat intake and indicators of semen quality. Men in subfertile couples presenting for evaluation at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center were invited to participate in an ongoing study of environmental factors and fertility. A total of 155 men completed a validated food-frequency questionnaire and subsequently provided 338 semen samples over an 18-mo period from 2007-2012. We used linear mixed regression models to examine the relation between meat intake and semen quality indicators (total sperm count, sperm concentration, progressive motility, morphology, and semen volume) while adjusting for potential confounders and accounting for within-person variability across repeat semen samples. Among the 155 men (median age: 36.1 y; 83% white, non-Hispanic), processed meat intake was inversely related to sperm morphology. Men in the highest quartile of processed meat intake had, on average, 1.7 percentage units (95% CI: -3.3, -0.04) fewer morphologically normal sperm than men in the lowest quartile of intake (P-trend = 0.02). Fish intake was related to higher sperm count and percentage of morphologically normal sperm. The adjusted mean total sperm count increased from 102 million (95% CI: 80, 131) in the lowest quartile to 168 million (95% CI: 136, 207) sperm in the highest quartile of fish intake (P-trend = 0.005). Similarly, the adjusted mean percentages of morphologically normal sperm for men in increasing quartiles of fish intake were 5.9 (95% CI: 5.0, 6.8), 5.3 (95% CI: 4.4, 6.3), 6.3 (95% CI: 5.2, 7.4), and 7.5 (95% CI: 6.5, 8.5) (P-trend = 0.01). Consuming fish may have a positive impact on sperm counts and morphology, particularly when consumed instead of processed red meats.

PMID:
24850626
PMCID:
PMC4056648
DOI:
10.3945/jn.113.190173
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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