Dairy intake and semen quality among men attending a fertility clinic

Fertil Steril. 2014 May;101(5):1280-7. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.02.003. Epub 2014 Mar 14.


Objective: To examine the relationship between dairy food intake and semen parameters.

Design: Longitudinal study.

Setting: Academic medical center fertility clinic.

Patient(s): One hundred fifty-five men.

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measure(s): Total sperm count, sperm concentration, progressive motility, morphology, and semen volume.

Result(s): Low-fat dairy intake was positively related to sperm concentration and progressive motility. On average, men in the highest quartile of intake (1.22-3.54 servings/d) had 33% (95% confidence interval [CI] 1, 55) higher sperm concentration and 9.3 percentage units (95% CI 1.4, 17.2) higher sperm motility than men in the lowest quartile of intake (≤0.28 servings/d). These associations were primarily explained by intake of low-fat milk. The corresponding results for low-fat milk were 30% (95% CI 1, 51) higher sperm concentration and 8.7 percentage units (95% CI 3.0, 14.4) higher sperm motility. Cheese intake was associated with lower sperm concentration among ever-smokers. In this group, men in the highest tertile of intake (0.82-2.43 servings/d) had 53.2% (95% CI 9.7, 75.7) lower sperm concentration than men in the lowest tertile of cheese intake (<0.43 servings/d).

Conclusion(s): Our findings suggest that low-fat dairy intake, particularly low-fat milk, is related to higher sperm concentration and progressive motility, whereas cheese intake is related to lower sperm concentration among past or current smokers.

Keywords: Infertility; dairy; diet; sperm quality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Adult
  • Dairy Products* / standards
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted / methods
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / diagnosis*
  • Infertility, Male / physiopathology
  • Infertility, Male / therapy*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Semen Analysis / methods*
  • Sperm Count / methods
  • Sperm Motility / physiology


  • Dietary Fats