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ASRM: Link Studied Between Diet and Semen Quality

Lower vitamin C, dietary antioxidant and isoflavone intake among infertile men

THURSDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Isoflavones, antioxidants, fresh fruit and vegetables may all play a role in male reproductive health, according to two studies presented at the 62nd annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine held in New Orleans.

In the first study, Vivian Lewis, M.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., and colleagues analyzed diet questionnaire data from 48 men with abnormal semen parameters and 10 healthy controls who had fathered a pregnancy within the previous 12 months.

The investigators found that 83 percent of the infertile men ate less than five servings a day of fruits and vegetables, compared with 40 percent of the fertile controls. "Low intake of other antioxidants -- glutathione and cryptoxanthin -- correlated with poor sperm motility, which could contribute to impaired sperm function through increased oxidative stress," the authors write.

In the second study, Lewis and colleagues measured total antioxidant capacity of seminal plasma and estimated the dietary intake of the isoflavones genistein and daidzein, using food frequency questionnaires. They found an association between semen parameters and isoflavone intake.

"These data suggest that dietary isoflavones may be important in infertile men. The larger population study and basic research should be performed to confirm these findings and to clarify the mechanism of the effects of isoflavones on sperm physiology," the authors conclude.

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