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Walnuts may help boost sperm quality, study finds

Walnuts could be key to boosting health of sperms and eating about 70 gm of this dry fruit could reduce the process that reduces the quality of sperm, a new study based on mice has found.

University of Delaware scientists carried out a study wherein it was found that walnut-enriched diet may be playing a role in reducing lipid peroxidation, which is a process that can damage sperm cells. Lipid peroxidation is known to harm sperm membranes, which are primarily made up of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). According to researchers walnuts are the only tree nut that are predominantly comprised of PUFAs.

Healthy male mice as well as mice that were genetically predetermined to be infertile were randomly assigned to a walnut-enriched diet or a control diet without walnuts that was followed for nine to 11 weeks. Among the mice that consumed walnuts, fertile mice experienced a significant improvement in sperm motility and morphology and the infertile mice had a significant improvement in sperm morphology. Both groups experienced a significant reduction in peroxidative damage.

Scientists are quick to point out that their findings are based on mouse model and hence there is no direct correlation to processes that occur in the human body; however, the findings of the latest study sit in line with previous findings wherein it was suggested that walnuts provide key nutrients that may be essential for sperm function.

In their study scientists found significant improvements in sperm motility and morphology in mice that consumed a diet containing 19.6 per cent of calories from walnuts (equivalent to about 70 grammes per day in humans) compared to mice that did not consume walnuts. Sperm motility (movement) and morphology (form) are markers of semen quality, which is a predictor of male fertility.

Scientists are recommending more studies to support their findings and to determine whether walnuts or walnut rich diet could help men with low sperm quality.

The study supports previous findings which showed that eating 75 grammes of walnuts per day improved sperm vitality, motility and morphology in men who added walnuts to their diet compared to men who did not add walnuts.

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