A new study out of the University of Western Australia and Monash University has linked antioxidants from food as a factor in helping men maintain their fertility. Though the study wasn’t done in people (the researchers looked at crickets, in fact), the scientists said that a combination of antioxidants – which include vitamins C and E and beta carotene – from specific foods “provided the best weapon to boost the health of the male ejaculate,” said one summary of the research. In particular, a combination of beta carotene and vitamin E led to the “most competitive ejaculates” in the crickets, wrote the study authors.
Sperm, said one of the lead authors, Dr. Maria Almbro, are particularly vulnerable to free radicals, which are the damaging byproducts of the normal process of oxidation. This process can impair sperm, and therefore a man’s fertility. But antioxidants help neutralize the effects of oxidation.
The study isn’t definitive, since among other things, it was done in insects rather than people, but it is intriguing. And you and your husband or partner can’t go wrong eating foods that are full of antioxidants, such as berries, beans, fruits, many vegetables, green and other teas, and even dark chocolate, since the same process - oxidation - that damages sperm has been linked to a slew of diseases, including many types of cancer. The study appeared in the journal Ecology Letters.
Have you and your husband/partner changed your diet since you started TTC? What did you change?