In a new study, titled “Meat intake and semen parameters among men attending a fertility clinic,” published in the journal Fertility and Sterility researchers from Harvard investigated a possible link between the consumption of various forms of meat and “semen quality.”
They looked at 364 semen samples from 156 men. These subjects had come to the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center with their female partners to be evaluated for possible fertility problems.
Processed meat intake was associated with lower percent morphologically normal sperm while white meat fish intake was associated with higher percent morphologically normal sperm. Dark meat fish intake was related to higher total sperm count.
More precisely, men who ate the most processed meat (between .39 and 2.79 servings per day) had 1.4% fewer sperm that were of a size and shape of normal size compared to men who ate less processed meat. Abnormal sperm morphology is believed to negatively impact the odds of fertility.
Conversely, men who at the highest amount of white fish meat (between .1 and .51 servings per day) had 1.6% more morphologically normal sperm than those who at the least (.02 servings per day or fewer).
And dark fish meat seemed to have an impact on subjects’ sperm count. Men who ate between 0.16 and 0.86 servings of tuna, salmon, or similar fish per day had a 34% higher sperm count than those with dark meat fish intake below .02 servings per day.
The researchers don’t yet know of an explanation for these differences, but if they are accurate, it looks like you wouldn’t need to eat too many fish in order to boost your sperm count and quality. After all, .1 servings per day is only one serving every 10 days.