The impact of nutrition and lifestyle on male fertility.
Archivio italiano di urologia, andrologia : organo ufficiale [di] Societa italiana di ecografia urologica e nefrologica. 2020;92(2)
Plain language summary
The impact of environmental, lifestyle and nutritional factors on unexplained male fertility has long been acknowledged. Yet, little research had been dedicated to the topic, despite declining semen quality having become a worldwide phenomena. Available studies have yielded limited, and at times conflicting, evidence. Hence this literature review sought to capture the current knowledge around unexplained male infertility and environmental, lifestyle, diet and nutrients factors. Summarized is the evidence from 69 studies, including population observations and clinical trials. The collected outcomes showed that a Western-type diet, rich in red and processed meats, refined grains, high-energy drinks and sweets, trans and saturated fats was associated with poor semen quality. Whereby higher intakes of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, omega-3 and poultry showed beneficial effects. However, as only selected groups were examined, more research is needed to project such findings onto the wider population. The reviewed evidence also included alcohol consumption, which showed high alcohol intake closely correlated to declining sperm concentrations. Whilst the verdict on caffeine consumption and the impact on sperm quality was inconclusive. In addition, several interventional studies evaluated the effect of dietary supplementation on various parameters of semen, where coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, vitamin E, antioxidants, combined nutrient formulations and herbal blends all had positive outcomes. The review on zinc and folic acid supplementation yielded mixed results. This brief recap of the current evidence on environmental, lifestyle and nutritional influences on male infertility summarises the dietary foundations for the support of unexplained male infertility.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS Male unexplained infertility has long been suspected to result from environmental, lifestyle and nutritional factors. However, the literature on the subject is still scarce, and clinical studies providing robust evidence are even scarcer. In addition, some similar studies come to different conclusions. Dietary pattern can influence spermatogenesis by its content of fatty acids and antioxidants. Yet, in an age of industrialized mass food production, human bodies become more exposed to the ingestion of xenobiotics, as well as chemicals used for production, preservation, transportation and taste enhancement of foods. We attempted in this paper to collect the available evidence to date on the effect of nutritional components on male fertility. MATERIAL AND METHODS A systematic search of the relevant literature published in PubMed, ScienceDirect and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials Database was conducted. Literature was evaluated according to the Newcastle-Ottawa- Scale. RESULTS Epidemiological observations are concordant in demonstrating an association of low-quality sperm parameters with higher intake of red meat, processed and organ meat and fullfat dairy. On the contrary, better semen parameters were observed in subjects consuming a healthy diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish. Evidences of the negative impact on male fertility of by-products of water disinfection, accumulation in food chain of persistent organochlorine pollutants, pesticides, phthalates from food and water containers and hormones used in breeding cattle have been reported. Clinical trials of the effects of micronutrients on semen parameters and outcomes of assisted fertilization are encouraging, although optimal modality of treatment should be established. CONCLUSIONS Although quality of evidence should be ameliorated, it emerges that environmental factors can influence male fertility. Some nutrients may enhance fertility whereas others will worsen it. With diagnostic analysis on a molecular or even sub-molecular level, new interactions with micronutrients or molecular components of our daily ingested foods and leisure drugs may lead to a better understanding of so far suspected but as yet unexplained effects on male spermatogenesis and fertility.
Favourable effects of consuming a Palaeolithic-type diet on characteristics of the metabolic syndrome: a randomized controlled pilot-study.
Lipids in health and disease. 2014;13:160
Plain language summary
The prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) is increasing rapidly worldwide and is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes (DM2) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Modern lifestyle-induced insulin resistance and chronic systemic low grade inflammation are considered at the root of the MetS. Therefore, dietary patterns of our Palaeolithic ancestors may be ideal for prevention and treatment of metabolic disorders since they are thought to be in line with the evolution of human physiology and metabolism. The aim of this randomized controlled pilot study was to assess the efficacy of a Palaeolithic-type diet in improving the characteristics of MetS, compared to a diet based on healthy eating guidelines. The study included 34 participants with MetS who consumed their allocated diets for two weeks. Efforts were made to prevent weight loss so that any favourable effects could be explained by the dietary intervention and not by the positive health effects of weight loss. The findings of this study showed that the Palaeolithic-type diet significantly lowered blood pressure, total cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as improved HDL-cholesterol, compared to the reference diet. The participants in the Palaeolithic diet intervention also had fewer characteristics of MetS and a tendency to higher insulin sensitivity at the end of the study. Despite efforts to keep body-weight stable, more weight was lost by the participants in the Palaeolithic group. No changes were observed in the secondary outcomes of inflammation, intestinal permeability and salivary cortisol, which the authors explain by the short duration of the intervention and the attempt to prevent weight loss. The authors conclude that future studies should take full additional advantage of the greater weight loss with the Palaeolithic diet, which may be more satiating than other diets, hence allowing weight loss to happen.
BACKGROUND The main goal of this randomized controlled single-blinded pilot study was to study whether, independent of weight loss, a Palaeolithic-type diet alters characteristics of the metabolic syndrome. Next we searched for outcome variables that might become favourably influenced by a Paleolithic-type diet and may provide new insights in the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the metabolic syndrome. In addition, more information on feasibility and designing an innovative dietary research program on the basis of a Palaeolithic-type diet was obtained. METHODS Thirty-four subjects, with at least two characteristics of the metabolic syndrome, were randomized to a two weeks Palaeolithic-type diet (n = 18) or an isoenergetic healthy reference diet, based on the guidelines of the Dutch Health Council (n = 14). Thirty-two subjects completed the study. Measures were taken to keep bodyweight stable. As primary outcomes oral glucose tolerance and characteristics of the metabolic syndrome (abdominal circumference, blood pressure, glucose, lipids) were measured. Secondary outcomes were intestinal permeability, inflammation and salivary cortisol. Data were collected at baseline and after the intervention. RESULTS Subjects were 53.5 (SD9.7) year old men (n = 9) and women (n = 25) with mean BMI of 31.8 (SD5.7) kg/m2. The Palaeolithic-type diet resulted in lower systolic blood pressure (-9.1 mmHg; P = 0.015), diastolic blood pressure (-5.2 mmHg; P = 0.038), total cholesterol (-0.52 mmol/l; P = 0.037), triglycerides (-0.89 mmol/l; P = 0.001) and higher HDL-cholesterol (+0.15 mmol/l; P = 0.013), compared to reference. The number of characteristics of the metabolic syndrome decreased with 1.07 (P = 0.010) upon the Palaeolithic-type diet, compared to reference. Despite efforts to keep bodyweight stable, it decreased in the Palaeolithic group compared to reference (-1.32 kg; P = 0.012). However, favourable effects remained after post-hoc adjustments for this unintended weight loss. No changes were observed for intestinal permeability, inflammation and salivary cortisol. CONCLUSIONS We conclude that consuming a Palaeolithic-type diet for two weeks improved several cardiovascular risk factors compared to a healthy reference diet in subjects with the metabolic syndrome. TRIAL REGISTRATION Nederlands Trial Register NTR3002.