(HealthDay News) — Adherence to healthy dietary patterns is associated with better semen quality, according to a study published online in JAMA Network Open.

Feiby L. Nassan, ScD, MBBCh, from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study involving 2935 young Danish men unselected regarding fertility status to examine whether specific dietary patterns are associated with testicular function. Four dietary patterns were identified: Western, prudent, open-sandwich (traditional Danish eating pattern), and vegetarian-like.

The researchers found the highest total sperm count for the greatest adherence to the prudent pattern, followed by adherence to the vegetarian-like and open-sandwich patterns (median, 167, 151, and 146 million, respectively). Adherence to the Western pattern correlated with the lowest total sperm count (122 million), which was significantly lower than with the other patterns. The median total sperm count was 26 million lower for men in the highest versus the lowest quintile of adherence to the Western pattern after adjustment for confounders. In contrast, the median total sperm count was 43 million higher for men in the highest versus the lowest quintile of the prudent pattern.

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“Because diet is modifiable, these results suggest the possibility of using dietary intervention as a potential approach to improving testicular function in men of reproductive age,” the authors write.


Nassan FL, Jensen TK, Priskorn L, et al. Association of Dietary Patterns With Testicular Function in Young Danish Men. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(2):e1921610. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.21610

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