Over 70 million couples worldwide struggle with infertility. When searching for the source of their infertility, between a third and a half of couples will find that the root of the problem is poor semen quality in the male partner. They are then faced with correcting this issue. But what if the solution were in a small package that fit in one’s hand and could be purchased at any grocery store? Yes, the answer to increasing a man’s sperm vitality could be eating a small packet of walnuts a day.
A study included in the Biology of Reproduction’s August 15 online section and reported by Medical News Today has found that eating a 75 g (2.5 ounce) snack-size packet of walnuts a day can increase the motility, vitality and structure of men’s sperm in comparison with that of men who do not eat walnuts. The study was performed on healthy American men in their 20s and 30s.
So what exactly is the connection between walnuts and sperm quality?
Walnuts happen to be rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are also found in fish and flax seeds. Sperm cells are surrounded by a membrane, of which unsaturated fatty acids chains are a major component. Thus, a diet rich in PUFAs adds to the integrity of each sperm cell’s membrane, adding to the cell’s ability to fertilize an egg.
The abovementioned study was conducted by a team of researchers that included UCLA faculty members and it was partially funded by the California Walnut Commission. The study lasted 12 weeks, over which semen quality was evaluated by measuring sperm concentration, vitality (living versus dead sperm), motility (movement), morphology and chromosomal abnormalities. These measures all showed improvements by the end of the 12 weeks. Meanwhile, the men did not experience significant weight gain – which can affect sperm quality – and their levels of beneficial omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids increased.
The idea of eating walnuts to reduce infertility may be new but finding solutions to infertility is not. Infertility specialists have been diagnosing and offering solutions to couples with increasing frequency since the first test-tube baby in 1978. They offer treatments for male and female infertility. These range from sperm aspiration to Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), and from egg donation to sperm freezing. Men can also use a method called sperm retrieval if they suffer from sperm deficiencies, while women’s egg production can be provoked so that the eggs can be harvested.
More than four million people benefit from infertility treatment every year. If you and your partner are struggling with infertility and hoping to become pregnant, consult a fertility specialist near you.Sources
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.