Walnuts and Male Fertility
Infertility affects between 10-15% of couples who are trying to conceive, of which 30-60% of cases can be attributable to male infertility. Improving dietary factors for both men and women has been shown to increase the changes of conception.
For example, Dr. Fuhrman says that, "Certain micronutrients are thought to contribute to male reproductive fitness. Oxidative stress can damage sperm, and accordingly higher blood antioxidant capacity, carotenoids, and vitamins C and E have been associated with higher sperm count and motility. Infertile men have been shown to have lower circulating levels of these antioxidant nutrients compared to fertile men. Adequate folate, abundant in green vegetables, may also promote fertility by preventing DNA damage in sperm. In contrast, higher saturated fat consumption, and cheese specifically, have been linked to lower semen quality."
"Omega 3 fatty acids may also contribute to semen quality" says Dr. Fuhrman, referring to a study that revealed higher omega-3 fatty acid intake associated with a higher rate of favorable sperm in fertile men. A deficiency in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA was also shown to "produce infertility in male mice, adversely affecting sperm count, morphology and motility."
A recent study tested the effects of regular walnut consumption in young men. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and contain other beneficial compounds, such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, and numerous tannins. The study determined that, "Sperm vitality, motility and number of normal-morphology sperm were enhanced" which suggests that "ALA (found in walnuts and flax, chia and hemp seeds) in conjunction with other beneficial nutrients in walnuts, makes them a valuable food for male fertility."
Dr. Fuhrman concludes by encouraging infertile couples to eat a healthful, high-nutrient diet, not only to help them conceive, but to also "protect the future health of their children." He also recommends maintaining a healthy weight and reducing exposure to pesticides by avoiding animal products and eating organic produce whenever possible. "Minimizing endocrine disrupting chemicals (such as BPA and phthalates)" Dr. Fuhmran states, "are additional factors that can help to maintain favorable semen quality."
If you are Dr. Carney's patient following one of her Starch-Smart® System programs to reverse disease, be sure to get her approval before consuming walnuts. Due to their calorie density, nuts are easy to indulge in, which may promote weight gain if eaten in excess.