Vegetarianism and veganism could damage men’s fertility

A well-balanced vegetarian or vegan diet has been found to promote a healthy immune systems. However, a recent study conducted in the United States at the Loma Linda Medical School suggests that being vegetarian or vegan can damage men’s fertility.

Men in the study who followed a vegetarian or vegan diet were found to have lower sperm counts than those men who ate red meat (50 million sperm per mL versus 70 million sperm per mL, respectively). In addition, the mobility (movement) of the sperm for the men on a vegetarian diet was 30% lower than the sperm mobility of those who ate red meat. Meat eaters had an average sperm mobility of 60% versus 30% in vegetarians.

Dr. Eliza Orzyloska, who led the study, speculated that the lower sperm counts of the men on vegan and vegetarian diets may be related to the impact of soy products on sperm health. It is also possible that vegetarians and vegans may have a vitamin deficiency, which can damage their sperm. Dr. Orzyloska noted that although the vegetarian men’s sperm counts were lower, and it might take longer for couples to conceive, these diets may not necessarily make them infertile. Until more is know about why sperm is negatively affected by a vegetarian or vegan diet, Dr. Orzyloska recommends that men who are trying to father a child, limit their intake of soy:

“It’s hard to tell people not to be vegetarians if they are trying to conceive, but I would caution against soy.”

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