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Semen Quality Linked to Fruit, Veggie Pesticide Residue

Men in highest quartile of high-pesticide residue fruit, vegetable intake have lower sperm count

TUESDAY, April 7, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- High-pesticide residue fruit and vegetable intake correlates with poorer semen quality, according to a study published online March 30 in Human Reproduction.

Yu-Han Chiu, M.D., from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues collected 338 semen samples from 155 male partners in subfertile couples over an 18-month period following diet assessment. Computer-aided semen analysis was used to assess sperm concentration and motility. The correlation between fruit and vegetable intake with sperm parameters was analyzed, accounting for within-person correlations across repeat samples while adjusting for potential confounders.

The researchers observed no correlation between total fruit and vegetable intake and semen quality. However, there was an association between high-pesticide residue fruit and vegetable intake with poorer semen quality. Compared with men in the lowest quartile of high-pesticide residue fruit and vegetable intake (<0.5 servings/day), men in the highest quartile of intake (≥1.5 servings/day) had a 49 percent lower sperm count and a 32 percent lower percentage of morphologically normal sperm (P trend = 0.003 and 0.02, respectively). There was a higher percentage of morphologically normal sperm with low-to-moderate-pesticide residue fruit and vegetable intake (P trend = 0.04).

"To our knowledge, this is the first report on the consumption of fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue in relation to semen quality," the authors write. "Further confirmation of these findings is warranted."

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