Food intake and its relationship with semen quality: a case-control study

Fertil Steril. 2009 Mar;91(3):812-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.01.020. Epub 2008 Mar 7.


Objective: To compare dietary habits in normospermic and oligoasthenoteratospermic patients attending a reproductive assisted clinic.

Design: An observational, analytical case-control study.

Setting: Private fertility clinics.

Patient(s): Thirty men with poor semen quality (cases) and 31 normospermic control couples attending our fertility clinics.

Intervention(s): We recorded dietary habits and food consumption using a food frequency questionnaire adapted to meet specific study objectives. Analysis of semen parameters, hormone levels, Y microdeletions, and karyotypes were also carried out.

Main outcome measure(s): Frequency of intake food items were registered in a scale with nine categories ranging from no consumption to repeated daily consumption.

Result(s): Controls had a higher intake of skimmed milk, shellfish, tomatoes, and lettuce, and cases consumed more yogurt, meat products, and potatoes. In the logistic regression model cases had lower intake of lettuce and tomatoes, fruits (apricots and peaches), and significantly higher intake of dairy and meat processed products.

Conclusion(s): Frequent intake of lipophilic foods like meat products or milk may negatively affect semen quality in humans, whereas some fruits or vegetables may maintain or improve semen quality.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Diet Records
  • Eating*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / etiology
  • Infertility, Male / physiopathology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Semen Analysis*
  • Spain
  • Spermatogenesis*