Meat intake in relation to semen quality and reproductive hormone levels among young men in Spain

Br J Nutr. 2019 Feb;121(4):451-460. doi: 10.1017/S0007114518003458.


The aim of this study was to assess the associations of intake of different types of meat with semen parameters and reproductive hormones in healthy young men. This cross-sectional study included 206 men, 18-23 years, from Southern Spain. All men completed a validated FFQ, underwent a physical examination, and provided blood and semen samples. Multivariable linear regression was used to evaluate the associations between meat intake with semen quality parameters and reproductive hormones. Total meat intake was unrelated to semen quality or reproductive hormone levels. When subgroups of meat were separately considered, however, shellfish intake was positively related to progressive motility. The adjusted percentages of progressively motile spermatozoa for men in increasing quartiles of shellfish intake were 45·2, 42·0, 49·4 and 53·2 % with a significant linear trend across quartiles (P trend≤0·001). In contrast, men who consumed organ meats had significantly lower progressive sperm motility (51·5 v. 42·8 %; P = 0·001) and higher luteinising hormone levels (4·0 v. 4·6 IU/l; P = 0·03) compared with men who did not consume organ meats. Intake of shellfish and organ meats was low in this population, however. Given the scarcity of data on the relation between specific types of meat with semen quality and reproductive hormone levels, additional research is needed to confirm or refute these findings.

Keywords: E2 oestradiol; LH luteinising hormone; Fish; Meat; Semen motility; Semen quality parameters; Shellfish.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Meat / analysis*
  • Semen Analysis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Spain
  • Sperm Motility
  • Young Adult