Yes, leading a healthy lifestyle and eating well is good for the brain, but have you ever considered your fertility? Eating well (or unwell) can indeed affect the quality of a man's sperm, and a group of researchers in Spain found that busting a nut here and there can go a long way in keeping a man fertile.
The team from Universitat Rovira i Virgili found that consuming a mix of tree nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds could have pronounced effects on sperm DNA methylation. Through this process, certain gene expressions are suppressed without changing the overall sequence. To exemplify, this methylation could stop a sequence of tumor-forming cells from activating and prevent cancer.
How authors studied this
The authors recruited 72 men, all healthy and non-smokers, in the trial titled FERTINUTS. The study was led by Drs. Mónica Bulló and Albert Salas-Huetos.
For 14 weeks, 48 of these men added a mix of nuts to their diet (which authors refer to as "Western-style diet"). Meanwhile, the remaining 24 acted as a control group.
The findings revealed that adding a mix of tree nuts to a man's diet improved the sperm count, motility, viability, and morphology.
Another thing to note about the regular consuming group was the significant alteration in methylation in 36 genomic regions associated with sperm DNA. Almost all subjects (97.2%) showed hypermethylation in sperm DNA regions.
The study is a first of its kind in analyzing the effects of diet on sperm DNA function and in showing the incorporation of nuts to a "Western-style diet" can positively impact DNA methylation, per the researchers.
Salas-Huetos told in Universitat Rovira i Virgili release: "This work demonstrates that there are some sensitive regions of the sperm epigenome that respond to diet, and which can result in changes in sperm and in its ability to fertilize."