Want Babies? Hold the Bacon!
If you're a guy concerned about your fertility, you might want to pass up the bacon the next time you go out to breakfast—but feel free to up-size that cup of coffee!
Studies Show Bacon Hurts Fertility
Recent studies examining how lifestyle factors like diet, alcohol and caffeine consumption affect male fertility were presented this month at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's annual conference.
In the first study, performed by Myriam Afeiche and her team of Harvard School of Public Health researchers, over 150 men answered questions about their diets and submitted sperm samples. The conclusion? Eating even one serving of processed meat like bacon daily contributed to lower sperm quality. On the flip side, making healthier choices like incorporating fish in the diet led to higher sperm quality as well as more sperm. Not surprisingly, the men who ate the most processed meat—up to three servings per day—had the absolute worst sperm quality, as measured by sperm shape. The men with the best sperm quality were those who ate the most white fish like cod and halibut. Remarkably, sperm count in men who ate the most dark-meat fish like salmon and tuna was over 34 percent higher than those who ate little to no fish!
Drinking Alcohol and Caffeine Healthier Than Eating Bacon!
If these facts get you down, the good news is you can drown your sorrows with a drink or two. A second study, performed at Harvard University and led by Dr. Anatte Karmon, who specializes in reproductive biology, showed no correlation between alcohol and caffeine consumption and sperm quality or quantity. This debunks the popular notion that these particular lifestyle factors can affect male fertility.
In the Harvard study, 166 men were questioned about their alcohol and caffeine consumption and contributed multiple sperm samples. The result? Harvard School of Public Health professor Dr. Jorge Chavarro puts it in a nutshell:
"Even though caffeine and alcohol are generally considered a risk factor for decreased fertility, we saw no evidence of that.”
These findings are significant because, in the words of vice president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Dr. Rebecca Sokol, “Helping men understand how their behavior may impact their fertility is very important. These studies help us provide better information to our patients."
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