Many environmental and lifestyle factors have been implicated in the decline of sperm quality, with diet being one of the most plausible factors identified in recent years. Moreover, several studies have reported a close association between the alteration of specific sperm DNA methylation signatures and semen quality. To date, however, no randomized clinical trials have been published that assess the effects of diet on these changes in the function of sperm DNA.
Now, researchers have evaluated for the first time the effect of a short/middle-term consumption of a mixture of tree nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts) on sperm DNA methylation patterns in healthy individuals reporting eating a Western-style diet. The research revealed that the inclusion of a mix of nuts for 14 weeks significantly improved the sperm count, viability, motility, and morphology.
This study was conducted in 72 healthy, non-smoking, young participants and was published in the scientific journal Andrology. According to the researchers, these findings provide the first evidence that adding nuts to a regular Western-style diet impacts sperm DNA methylation in specific regions.
Albert Salas-Huetos, the first author of the article, states, “This work demonstrates that there are some sensitive regions of the sperm epigenome that respond to diet, and which can result in changes in sperm and in its ability to fertilize.”