Scientific American presents Nutrition Diva by Quick & Dirty Tips. Scientific American and Quick & Dirty Tips are both Macmillan companies.
This is the second in a two-part series on nutrition and fertility. Last week, I talked about dietary factors that affect women’s reproductive health. But, obviously, it takes two people to make a baby - and nutrition has a significant impact on men’s reproductive function as well. This week’s episode focuses on the things men can do to enhance their fertility.
First, I want to reiterate something I said last week: Most of this information is gleaned from observational and not experimental data. In other words, we’re looking at the associations between various nutritional factors and male fertility. We don’t know for certain that adopting these habits improves fertility. However, seeing as all of them are consistent with overall good health, there certainly doesn’t seem to be any harm in trying.
Two Big Factors in Male Fertility
There’s an old saying that a gentlemen should never ask a lady about her age or her weight. If that’s true, fertility doctors are no gentlemen! As I talked about last week, both factors play a big role in a woman’s fertility. But guess what, guys? Both of these factors also apply to you.
Unlike women, who reach a hard-stop at menopause, men can continue to father children into old age. However, sperm quality—in terms of both numbers and friskiness, or motility—starts to decline around age 35. You can’t turn back the clock, of course, but you should be aware that delaying parenthood while you pursue other goals may make it a little harder for you to start a family.