Gents, if you want your swimmers to get some tail action, best tuck into a plate of fish.
To understand the importance of omega-3 fatty acids in male fertility, it’s important to understand the anatomy of sperm.
As researchers from the University of Illinois explain it, normal sperm are composed of a cap-like structure that surrounds the anterior end of the sperm head called the acrosome.
It’s here, in the cap, where the enzymes needed to successfully penetrate an egg are housed and concentrated.
But in order for the sperm to develop this arch or cap-like structure and the rest of the building blocks needed to fuse the rest of the sperm together pointy head and extra long tail sperm need a certain omega-3 fatty acid called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the study, announced Monday, found.
“Without DHA, this vital structure doesn't form and sperm cells don't work," said Timothy Abbott, study co-author.
Marine fish like salmon and tuna are excellent sources of DHA.
The scientist began to investigate the importance of DHA in male fertility after finding that mice which lacked the fatty acid were basically infertile.
When DHA was introduced into the mice’s diet, however, fertility was completely restored.
Because DHA is also abundant in tissues like the brain, retina and the testes, authors of the study say their research could have implications relating to brain function and cognitive illnesses like dementia and vision.
Meanwhile, another study out of Harvard University last year also found that poor nutrition can damage sperm quality, as those who consumed diets high in saturated fats including deep-fried and processed foods had poor-quality swimmers compared to men who ate whole grains, vegetables and fish regularly.
Foods that have been shown to boost male fertility include eggs, salmon, natural yogurt, nuts, seeds, berries, sweet potatoes, broccoli and asparagus.