Diet and Nutritional Factors in Male (In)fertility-Underestimated Factors

J Clin Med. 2020 May 9;9(5):1400. doi: 10.3390/jcm9051400.


In up to 50% of cases, infertility issues stem solely from the male. According to some data, the quality of human semen has deteriorated by 50%-60% over the last 40 years. A high-fat diet and obesity, resulting from an unhealthy lifestyle, affects the structure of spermatozoa, but also the development of offspring and their health in later stages of life. In obese individuals, disorders on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis are observed, as well as elevated oestrogen levels with a simultaneous decrease in testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. Healthy dietary models clearly correlate with better sperm quality and a smaller risk of abnormalities in parameters such as sperm count, sperm concentration and motility, and lower sperm DNA fragmentation. Apart from mineral components such as zinc and selenium, the role of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant vitamins should be emphasized, since their action will be primarily based on the minimization of oxidative stress and the inflammation process. Additionally, the incorporation of carnitine supplements and coenzyme Q10 in therapeutic interventions also seems promising. Therefore, it is advisable to have a varied and balanced diet based on vegetables and fruit, fish and seafood, nuts, seeds, whole-grain products, poultry, and low-fat dairy products.

Keywords: anti-oxidants; diet; male infertility; nutritional model; semen quality.

Publication types

  • Review