Men: Soda, Unhealthy Lifestyle Affect Fertility
Danish researchers have found that men who drink a quart of soda or more each day had a 30% lower sperm count than men who did not consume soft drinks. Those men were also more likely to live more unhealthy lifestyles that can lead to reduced fertility.
Dr. Tina Kold Jensen of Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark and colleagues studied more than 2,500 young men. The majority of the men didn’t drink cola on a regular basis, and also lived more healthful lifestyles overall. Those men had a sperm count of 50 million sperm per millimeter of semen. Just under 100 men drank sodas regularly and also had a tendency to eat more fast food and less fruit and vegetables. Those men had only 35 million sperm per millimeter.
The counts are still considered within the normal limits, according to the World Health Organization, however, men with fewer sperm generally have a higher risk of being infertile.
The researchers did not find an association with the caffeine content of the soda and the decrease in sperm count. Coffee and tea did not lead to the same effect in this population sample, and previous studies have found conflicting results. Instead they felt other ingredients in the beverage, or because it was one factor in an overall unhealthy lifestyle, were the primary factors.
Many studies have shown an association with a healthy, well-balanced diet in the preservation of reproductive health for both men and women. A 2009 Spanish study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that men who ate more dairy and meat, and less fruits and vegetables, were more likely to have poor semen quality.
Infertility is a common problem, affecting an estimated 6 million American couples. Men who are ready to start a family should follow a healthy diet and exercise program to include:
• Eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants. These nutrients help prevent sperm defects and boost its motility (movement). An 8-ounce glass of orange juice contains about 124 milligrams of C. Aim for at least 90 mg a day.