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ASRM: Dietary Glycemic Load Linked to Sperm Concentration

Last Updated: October 24, 2012.

Increased carbohydrate intake and dietary glycemic load and increased intake of full-fat dairy products are associated with worse semen quality, according to two studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, held from Oct. 20 to 24 in San Diego.

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Increased carbohydrate intake and dietary glycemic load and increased intake of full-fat dairy products are associated with worse semen quality, according to two studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, held from Oct. 20 to 24 in San Diego.

Jorge E. Chavarro, M.D., Sc.D., from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues examined the association between carbohydrate intake and semen quality using data from 189 men, aged 18 to 22 years, recruited for the Rochester Young Men's Study in 2009 to 2010. The researchers found that there was a suggestion of an inverse association for total carbohydrate intake with sperm concentration (P = 0.08 for trend). Dietary glycemic load correlated with lower sperm concentration (P for trend = 0.04). Sperm motility and morphology were unrelated to carbohydrate intake or glycemic load.

Myriam Afeiche, Ph.D., also from the Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues conducted a study among 189 men from the Rochester Young Men's Study to examine the association between dairy food intake and semen quality. The researchers found that there were decreasing percentages of men with morphologically normal sperm with increasing quartiles of dairy food intake (P for trend = 0.007). The association was mainly driven by full-fat dairy foods (P for trend = 0.05), while low-fat dairy foods were not associated with morphology (P for trend = 0.10). Increasing the intake of cream or whole milk by one serving per day correlated with lower sperm motility and decreased sperm concentration, respectively.

"Full-fat dairy food intake was associated with lower semen quality among young active men," Afeiche and colleagues conclude. "Further work is necessary to replicate or refute these findings."

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