Although male factor infertility can be found in half of couples having difficulties trying to conceive, little is known regarding dietary habits and male reproduction.

Jill A. Attaman, MD, of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., and colleagues examined how specific nutritional factors can affect semen quality.

Using a validated 131-item food frequency questionnaire and semen and semen fatty acid analyses, they discovered that higher intake of saturated fats negatively affected total sperm count and sperm concentrations, according to a report in Human Reproduction (2012;27:1466-1474).

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Men in the highest third of saturated fat intake had 41% lower sperm concentration than men in the lowest third.

Intake of omega-3 fatty acids was positively correlated with favorable sperm morphology, including fewer head defects. Adopting these important dietary and lifestyle changes of increased omega-3 fatty acid and decreased saturated fat can be beneficial not only for your patient’s general health, but their reproductive health as well.