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Weightlifting and Eating Fish May Improve Sperm Count

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October 23, 2013

Based on lifestyle surveys and sperm samples, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health concluded weight lifting and consumption of fish could improve sperm count, while moderate intake of caffeine and alcohol had no adverse impact. This information was presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Conference in Boston, MA this month. The data was gathered at Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center over a 6 year period.

Higher sperm counts were noted in men who exercised at least an hour daily, with an emphasis on weight lifting. It was theorized that higher testosterone levels correlated with increased muscle mass on those who lift weights. Physical activity such as yard work, gardening and shoveling snow was linked to more sperm, but jogging and biking had no impact. Joggers were theorized to have the same benefits, but during the study there was no clinical correlation between the activity and sperm counts. This could be in part due to the fact that joggers only participated lightly in the activity. Bicyclists that cycled an extended amount were shown to have decreased sperm counts in previous studies, which could be in part due to the position of their seat and the tight shorts worn during the activity.

Men who ate one or two servings of white fish a week, including halibut, cod and tilapia had improved sperm counts. Salmon and tuna, both fattier fish, eaten 2-3 times per week was linked to a 34% higher sperm count. A variety of fish may also have cardiovascular benefits. Processed meats, such as hot dogs and cold cuts, had did not make a difference during this study. However, the same group of researchers presented another study in the journal of Fertility and Sterility which did suggest avoiding these foods could positively impact male fertility. Moderate consumption of caffeine, defined as two to three cups per day, and alcohol, defined as two cups per day showed no adverse impact.

This study was not peer reviewed prior to presentation at the conference.

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