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Nutrient - Omega balance important for sperm quality

By Holly Taylor BSc (Hons) DipCNM MBANT

Omega 3 and 6 are often referred to as essential fats. Unlike other kinds of fats they cannot be made by the body and, therefore, have to be obtained through the diet or from supplements. In order for the body to work properly, omega 3 and 6 need to be balanced within the diet. Unfortunately, the modern diet means many of us consume up to 30 times more omega 6 than omega 3 and research carried out in Iran suggests this imbalance may also have an effect on male fertility.

The scientists, from a university in Tehran, measured levels of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids in the blood and sperm of 82 infertile and 78 fertile men. According to their results, fertile men were found to have higher blood and sperm levels of omega 3 fatty acids, whereas the infertile men were more likely to display low omega 3 levels but with a high level of omega 6.

“A high proportion of omega 6 fatty acids in the spermatozoa is a distinctive feature of infertile men. There is a growing body of evidence that the fatty acid composition of sperm membranes determine their physiological characteristics,” wrote the researchers.

The study adds to the growing body of evidence supporting the importance of balance between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and suggests that omega 3 supplementation may be useful in supporting male fertility. 

Article References

Safarinejad MR et al. (2009) Relationship of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids with semen characteristics, and anti-oxidant status of seminal plasma: A comparison between fertile and infertile men. Clinical Nutrition. Published online ahead of print

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