Abu Dhabi: IVI Middle East Fertility Clinic highlighted the importance of consuming nutritious food for male teenagers, following the release of the Harvard University-led study that revealed the negative impact of junk food diet on sperm count.
According to the report, men are more likely to be diagnosed with low sperm count and damaged sperm-producing Sertoli cells if, during their teen years, they had consumed large amounts of junk diet of high-fat and processed foods such as pizza, chips, and red meat.
As per the study, young men who ate mostly processed junk food had 25.6 million sperm per ejaculation compared to those who reported more balanced and plant-based diets. A low sperm count, it said, is less than 39 million sperm per ejaculation. The report noted an increase in sperm count within three months through diet change, but it stated that damage to Sertoli cells was irreparable.
“The study strongly suggests the after-effects of an unhealthy lifestyle during our younger years. This time, it correlates unhealthy eating with male fertility. While fertility is not something that our teenagers think about just yet, the findings should nonetheless raise an alarm,” said Dr Laura Melado, IVF Specialist, IVI Fertility Abu Dhabi clinic.
The medical data of nearly 3,000 men with an average age of 19 were collected for the study. The young participants answered a questionnaire categorizing them into four diets, namely the junk diet; a prudent diet of mostly chicken, fish, vegetables, and fruit; a Scandinavian diet of processed meats, whole grains, cold fish and dairy; and a traditional vegetarian diet.
Sperm concentration, volume, and motility of men with junk diet were considered the worst compared to other diet categories. Furthermore, the results of their hormonal tests revealed their depleted Sertoli cells.
According to Dr Laura, almost 40 per cent of all infertility cases are due to male-related issues and low sperm count is the number one reason for male infertility.
In most cases, some form of assisted reproduction is required to increase the chances of conception. One such treatment is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) which is performed as an addition to the IVF treatment cycle where a single sperm is injected into each egg to assist fertilisation using very fine micro-manipulation equipment. In most cases, ICSI can be very successful in overcoming severe male infertility.
“We hope that the results of the latest study will bring a mindset to change and lead to concrete actions and awareness. For our overall health and well-being, we cannot stress enough the importance of consuming a healthy diet and engaging in an active lifestyle. In the Middle East, several government-led programs in this regard have already been launched, and we fully support these initiatives,” Dr Laura added.