Men: Looking to Conceive? Eating Nuts Are Good For Your Nuts (Sperm and Fertility)

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With sperm quality and fertility rates on the decline globally, researchers are looking at simple diet interventions that could help reverse this worrying trend

new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that eating nuts may improve semen quality and fertility in healthy young men. The randomized controlled trial found that consuming 60 grams per day of a mixed nut supplement (walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts) led to increases in total sperm count, vitality, motility and normal morphology compared to men not eating nuts.1 

Further validating these findings, a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of studies on nut intake and fertility parameters also showed improved measures of sperm quality with regular nut consumption. Specifically, the meta-analysis found significant increases in sperm motility, vitality and morphology among healthy males eating at least 60g of nuts per day.2

The researchers suggest the nuts' beneficial fats, antioxidants like vitamin E, minerals and other nutrients could be helping reduce sperm DNA damage. The nut group did show significantly decreased DNA fragmentation which is linked to poor semen quality and infertility.3

Nuts contain high amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which may help improve the lipid composition of the sperm membrane, enhancing motility and viability.4 The omega-3 fatty acids found in some nuts like walnuts also have anti-inflammatory effects and boost antioxidants that protect sperm from oxidative damage.5 Selenium and zinc within nuts play key roles in proper sperm maturation and function.6 Additionally, the fiber, protein and polyphenols in nuts moderate blood sugar and insulin, which can optimize the hormonal environment for fertility.7

While more research is needed, this adds to evidence that replacing unhealthy Western foods with nutrient-rich nuts could impact fertility - an increasing issue worldwide. Since nuts pose little risk, they could be a simple lifestyle change for men prior to or while attempting conception. 

Learn more about natural ways to improve male fertility here, and female fertility here.

Learn about the evidence-based, broad spectrum health benefits of eating nuts, of all varieties.


References

1. Albert Salas-Huetos et al., "Effect of Nut Consumption on Semen Quality and Functionality in Healthy Men Consuming a Western-Style Diet: A Randomized Controlled Trial," The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 108, no. 5 (November 2018): 953-62, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqy181.

2. Barbara R Cardoso et al., "Nut Consumption and Fertility: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis," Advances In Nutrition 15, no. 3 (May 2024), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.advnut.2023.100153

3. Salas-Huetos et al., "Effect of Nut Consumption on Semen Quality."

4. Esmaeili et al., "Dietary Fatty Acids Affect Semen Quality: A Review," Andrology 3, no. 3 (May 2015): 450-61, https://doi.org/10.1111/andr.12002.

5. Zhu et al., "Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) Provides Neuroprotection in Traumatic Brain Injury Models via Activating Nrf2-ARE Signaling," Inflammation 41, no. 4 (August 2018): 1182-93, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10753-018-0784-3.

6. Allouche-Fitoussi and Breitbart, "The Role of Zinc in Male Fertility," International Journal of Molecular Sciences 21, no. 20 (October 2020): 7796, https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207796

7. Viguiliouk et al., "Effect of Tree Nuts on Glycemic Control in Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Dietary Trials," PLoS ONE 9, no. 7 (July 2014): e103376, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0103376.

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