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A study published last year by scientists at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem showed that there was a sharp drop in the quality of sperm among Western men. The data collected from 7,500 publications in the medical literature showed a 52.5% reduction in sperm concentration between 1973 and 2011.

Scientists argue that supplementing the diet may improve sperm functioning. Adding nuts to your diet, especially almonds, rich in omega-3, vitamin B and folic acid, can improve sperm quality and quantity in a matter of weeks.  The research was presented at this year’s annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Barcelona.

“The medical literature is rich in evidence that a lifestyle change that includes a healthy diet increases the chance of pregnancy,” said Dr. Albert Sallas Huatus of the University of Rubiera Virgili in Spain.

The researchers also noted that low sperm count may predict an increase in mortality and morbidity among men. In previous studies, it was found that low sperm counts are associated with environmental and modern lifestyle factors, including exposure to prenatal chemicals, exposure to pesticides, smoking, stress and obesity.

A Harvard study published this month found that the chances of successful fertilization decrease not only with maternal age but with paternal age, as well. The study found a decrease in fertilization rate if the male partner is over the age of 40.

In conclusion, even though female fertility decreases more sharply after the age of 35 and especially after the age of 40, bear in mind that male fertility diminishes as well. Switching to a healthier diet, including nuts and anti-oxidant-rich foods, and exercising regularly can ameliorate this decrease in male fertility. These measures could prove useful for young men with abnormal sperm parameters as well.

If there are serious deviations from reference values, however, the cause has to be sought and if possible treated/removed. Greatest improvement in semen parameters is observed in men, in whom the underlying condition is successfully treated or the occupational hazard removed.

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