More information has come to light about how obesity can affect male infertility in a recent study.
It was already known that obesity can cause problems in couples who wish to reproduce, but now Chinese researchers say they think the reason this happens is because obese men tend to have higher inflammatory markers in their semen and their sperm is of poorer quality.
Whilst research shows obesity can have an effect on fertility, it is not the only factor. Furthermore, if you are overweight, there is a lot that can be done to benefit your health which may improve fertility.
An effective way of losing weight can be to follow a low carb diet, which can also help lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes or even put the condition into remission.
The study involved comparing the reproductive organs of obese mice against those at a healthy weight. The researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Medicine in China found higher levels of inflammatory proteins in the obese mice and lower levels of testosterone.
They then moved on to look at human semen samples donated by nearly 272 men. Of these, 150 were overweight, 40 were obese and a further 82 men were of a healthy weight. As they had found in the mice, the men who were overweight or obese had higher levels of inflammatory proteins.
The researchers found that sperm concentration and motility (the ability to move properly) was significantly decreased in the overweight and obese men. The decreases correlated with increasing BMI, meaning that the greater the BMI, the greater the reductions in sperm concentraton and motility.
Lead study researcher Zhide Ding from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Medicine in China, said: “Obesity is a serious problem in modern society and both obesity and male infertility rates continue to increase. Reducing BMI is important in improving male fertility.”
The findings have provided valuable answers for researchers who seek treatment for male infertility, although more work must be carried out to explore the subject further.
The researchers said their discovery could also aid future therapies developed to enhance a man’s fertility.
The results appear in the journal Frontiers in Physiology.

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