N° 2 | September 2015

Dietary patterns and Asthenozoospermia risk

Infertility affected 10–15% of all reproductive-aged couples, and male factors contribute to almost 50% of cases of infertility1. Throughout the past decades, there has been much discussion about the changes in semen quality2-4.

Previous studies show that high intake of antioxidants, fruits, vegetables, poultry, seafoods, skim milk, shellfish, lettuce, tomatoes, apricots, and peaches, as well as low intake of sweets and processed meat, especially foods containing high amounts of saturated fat, were reported to have favorable association with sperm quality5-12.

Our study evaluated the associations between dietary patterns and asthenozoospermia risks in a case-control study in Iranian men, to increase understanding of the role of dietary patterns in the etiology of asthenozoospermia*.

342 men aged between 20 and 40 years interviewed

In total, 107 asthenozoospermia cases and 235 control cases were interviewed through the infertility clinics in Tehran, Iran, from January 2012 to November 2013. Usual dietary intakes were collected using a semi quantitative food frequency questionnaire and semen quality data were analyzed according to the fifth edition of the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. Dietary patterns were derived using factor analysis. The first tertile served as the reference category for regression analyses.

In principal component analysis, 2 dietary patterns emerged: a “prudent pattern” and a ““Western pattern” (cf Table 1).

Lower risk of asthenozoospermia for participants of the prudent pattern

Our results revealed that participants in the highest tertile of the prudent pattern scores had 54% lower risk of asthenozoospermia compared to those in the lowest (p for trend: 0.003); after adjustment for potential confounders. In contrast, the Western pattern was positively associated with the risk of asthenozoospermia (highest tertile; odds ratio [OR] D 2.86; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.83–2.97).

Our findings suggest that a diet composed mainly of plant-based foods may be associated with a reduced risk of asthenozoospermia whereas an adherence to a Western pattern is a potential indicator of increased risk.

The current study indicates that efforts to improve diet quality should focus on the diet as a whole, not on single nutrients and foods.
Because epidemiological evidence on this topic is extremely limited, well-designed case control and prospective cohort studies are required to confirm the relationship between dietary patterns and the risk of asthenozoospermia in developing and developed countries.

*Asthenozoospermia reduces motility or vitality of spermatozoa and is one of the major causes of infertility or reduced fertility in men.

Based on: Eslamian G, Amirjannati N, Rashidkhani B, Sadeghi MR, Baghestani AR, Hekmatdoost A. Adherence to the Western Pattern Is Potentially an Unfavorable Indicator of Asthenozoospermia Risk: A Case-Control Study. J Am Coll Nutr. 2015 Mar 12:1-9

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