Vegetarian or vegan diets have long been associated with a healthier dietary regime, and there is medical evidence to support that.
However, a new study published in the Journal Fertility & Sterility highlights possible detrimental impacts of a vegetarian or vegan diet on men’s reproductive health.
Veggie eaters have lower sperm counts
The researchers followed 474 males over a four year timeframe and analyzed their total sperm count and quality.
The results showed that men eating a vegetarian diet or vegan diet men had significantly lower sperm concentrations (50.7 ± 7.4 M/mL and 51.0 ± 13.1 M/mL, respectively) when compared to men who ate meat (69.6 ± 3.2 M/mL).
Researchers also learned that the sperm mobility was 30 percent lower in vegetarian and vegan men when compared to men who ate meat.
Why does this happen?
Experts have many theories about why a vegetarian diet or vegan diet may effect fertility, including…
- high intake of soy,
- lower B12 levels,
- increased pesticide intake,
- and lower intake of animal fats.
But the truth is that doctors aren’t entirely sure yet, but research is ongoing.
Eat MORE meat to boost fertility
Regardless, it is important for men to mitigate this negative effect of vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. If you’ve reduced your meat intake for fear that it’s bad for you, stop!
Meat is the most nutrient dense food available. Instead of forgoing meat completely, choose from a wide variety of wild fish, free-run chicken, grass-fed beef and game meats. Eating these will ensure that you have adequate cholesterol levels. Yes, adequate levels.
You see, cholesterol is the key building block for all steroid hormones (i.e. testosterone), which ensures proper regulation of male reproductive ability and fertility.
And remember, when you eat meat, you must always include veggies as well. To ensure that you have the recommended daily amount, aim for one or two fistfuls, about equal to the size of your hand. Maintaining a healthy diet will help your body function properly, making it easier for your body to fight off chronic conditions.
Veggie eaters should eat less tofu raise fertility
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan who doesn’t want to add meat to your regime, reduce your tofu intake. Doctors recommend switching over to tempeh, since it does not exert the same negative effects on estrogen levels in men.
You can also add whey protein isolate, branched-chain amino acids, or creatine as a dietary supplement. These help to promote lean muscle mass and a more anabolic environment in the body, which will promote superior reproductive health in men.
Whether your goal is higher fertility levels or better overall health, keep this research in mind when working out the best dietary approach for promoting your best health.
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