Attention sperm: Bacon bad, fish good
October 16th, 2013
04:16 PM ET

Attention sperm: Bacon bad, fish good

The quality of a man's semen is directly related to his ability to help conceive a child. But science hasn't found many solutions for men looking for a baby-making boost. Now a study suggests men who are hoping to start families may want to pay attention to what they eat.

A study presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Boston this week, and published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, suggests that processed meat intake is linked to poorer semen quality, and fish is linked to better semen quality.

Myriam Afeiche, research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, and her colleagues looked at how types of meat could be associated with semen quality. They took samples from 156 men at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center in Boston and had the men answer a questionnaire about their eating habits.

What does semen have to look like to be considered high-quality? The researchers considered four main parameters:

The concentration of sperm is one part of it. So is motility, or how fast the sperm move. The shape of the sperm also matters, as does the total sperm count - that's the concentration multiplied by volume.

The researchers did not look at individual kinds of processed meat, so this study won't tell you if bacon could be more sperm-stunting than hamburgers, or vice versa. But higher intake of processed meat appeared to be related to a lower percent of "morphologically normal" - or well-shaped - sperm.

Regarding fish, it seemed that men who ate more dark meat fish - such as salmon, bluefish and tuna - had higher total sperm count; more white meat fish - such as cod and halibut - was associated with normally-shaped sperm.

The researchers only looked at associations, not causes. It is unclear whether processed meat actually causes changes in sperm, or if it does, how that would happen. It's possible men who eat more processed meat have an unhealthier diet overall, which could affect their semen. Same goes for fish intake and sperm; researchers don't know what about fish may benefit the littler swimmers.

"There might be something else going on, but we’re not sure what it is," Afeiche said.

Afeiche and her colleagues found that neither total fat intake, including saturated fat, nor animal fat could explain these connections.

"We have previously found in this same study population that saturated fat was related to lower total sperm count and sperm concentration," she said.

A 2012 study in the American Journal for Nutrition found that, in a sample of 701 Danish men, high intake of saturated fat was associated with low sperm concentration and low total sperm count.

Afeiche's findings seem "quite related to our study," said Tina Kold Jensen, professor of environmental health at University of Southern Denmark, who led the saturated fat study. But Jensen did not have any answers either about what the saturated fat would be doing biologically to diminish sperm quality.

If modifying his diet can help a man boost his semen quality, that would be an easy intervention for many couples who are having trouble conceiving.

But it should also be noted that there's not a linear relationship between semen quality and likelihood of conception, says Afeiche. The two are related, of course, but all it takes is one sperm to conceive.

Afeiche isn't ready to make any dietary recommendations based on her new research. This is only one study, she said, and it was done on a relatively small group of men in Boston.

"I would say that further studies are needed to confirm this," she said.

Researchers will have to recruit a larger group of men from a wider geographic area to make the findings applicable to semen everywhere.

soundoff (332 Responses)
  1. EncoxAni

    harlem rx pharmacy https://pharmacyken.com/ – Cytoxan is rx pharmacy coupons legit

    May 29, 2021 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Zisseloh

    over the counter viagra cialis https://rcialisgl.com/ – cialis super active vs cialis cialis softtabs online

    May 29, 2021 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. EncoxHtf

    cialis not covered by insurance https://cialishav.com/ – buy cialis with paypal payment cialis capsules canada

    May 29, 2021 at 21:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. ZisseVed

    where to buy cialis in usa https://krocialis.com/ – online pharmacies for cialis research cialis

    May 30, 2021 at 07:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. CrulkAsd

    cialis dapoxetine https://cialisjla.com/ – cialis no prescription cialis trial coupon

    May 31, 2021 at 01:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. EncoxHtf

    cialis 36 hours cialis 2.5mg reviews can i take cialis with daxpoteine

    May 31, 2021 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. EncoxDev

    buy cialis online canada pharmacy prescription drugs definitions my canadian pharmacy reviews

    June 1, 2021 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Zisseloh

    cialis prescription is cialis a blood thinner drugstore1st cialis

    June 1, 2021 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. EncoxGtv

    heb online pharmacy Voveran SR canada drugs

    June 1, 2021 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. ZisseVed

    when is generic cialis coming out cialis vs online pharmacy cialis

    June 2, 2021 at 01:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. EncoxGtv

    Lotrisone my canadian pharmacy reviews vipps canadian online pharmacy

    June 2, 2021 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Zisseloh

    tadalafil generic generic cialis site accept mastercard which is better cialis or levitra

    June 3, 2021 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. MileSwa

    cialis overnighted cialis generic cialis online

    June 4, 2021 at 08:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. EncoxAni

    Arcoxia top pharmacy technician online schools levitra online canadian pharmacy

    June 4, 2021 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. EncoxAni

    canadian rx overseas pharmacies family pharmacy

    June 4, 2021 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. ZisseVed

    cialis over the counter in mexico how to get viagra or cialis levitra cialis

    June 4, 2021 at 17:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. EncoxHtf

    cialis costco price best place to buy cialis cialis no rx

    June 5, 2021 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. EncoxDev

    non prescription drugs canada drugs cialis canada pharmacies without script

    June 5, 2021 at 05:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Antoinette Carmack

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    June 6, 2021 at 07:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. EncoxHtf

    cialis by mail canadian pharmacy for cialis for sale cialis 5 mg tablet

    June 7, 2021 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. CrulkAsd

    free cialis coupon generic cialis buy dapoxetine with cialis

    June 7, 2021 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Samual Jackosn

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    June 7, 2021 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. MileSwa

    cialis usa buy cialis/canada brand levitra cialis viagra add to cart

    June 7, 2021 at 22:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. EncoxDev

    online pharmacy in germany pharmacy certificate programs online viagra professional canadian pharmacy

    June 8, 2021 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. EncoxGtv

    rx relief pharmacy discount card ritalin online pharmacy reddit online pharmacy

    June 9, 2021 at 18:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. hydroxychloroquine chloroquine

    can hydroxychloroquine cause blindness chloroquine over the counter uk ic hydroxychloroquine

    June 10, 2021 at 06:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Donovan Torbert

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    June 12, 2021 at 01:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Zisseloh

    side effects of cialis 5 mg i need cialis what's in cialis

    June 12, 2021 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. EncoxAni

    united rx pharmacy canadian pharmacy tramadol 300 er canadianpharmacymeds com

    June 12, 2021 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. CrulkAsd

    30 day free cialis cialis цена cialis without prescription overnight

    June 12, 2021 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. EncoxAni

    store pharmacy mexican pharmacies online pharmacy suboxone

    June 12, 2021 at 23:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. MileSwa

    cialis without prescriptions cialis 20mg price real cialis

    June 13, 2021 at 04:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Chance Virzi

    I don't know about you guys but I am obsessed with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2009/12/first-boeing-787-dreamliner-flight-tomorrow/


    June 13, 2021 at 05:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. ZisseVed

    cialis without prescriptions uk how to take cialis 10mg main ingredient in cialis

    June 13, 2021 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. EncoxHtf

    buy cialis 5mg daily use cialis online europe cialis how long before

    June 13, 2021 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Leanna Mcatee

    I don't know about you people but I infatuated with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2009/04/swine-flu-causing-airlines-to-waive-fees/


    June 13, 2021 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. EncoxDev

    marks marine pharmacy canada online pharmacy classes buy vyvanse online pharmacy

    June 13, 2021 at 20:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. ทางเข้าfun88

    Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It's on a entirely different topic but it has
    pretty much the same page layout and design. Excellent choice
    of colors!

    June 15, 2021 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Rafaela Spidell

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl websites and blogs


    June 15, 2021 at 06:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. pharmaceptica.com

    does hydroxychloroquine cause heart problems https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 19, 2021 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Francis Steckman

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl authors and blogs


    June 21, 2021 at 19:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. pharmaceptica

    chrloroquine https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 28, 2021 at 05:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. buy delta 8 products

    I cannot thank you enough for the article.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.


    June 30, 2021 at 09:10 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6

Leave a Reply to Cynthia Halls


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.