A healthy diet and lifestyle can help boost male fertility and drinking alcohol could also be effective, according to a new report.
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Researchers from health institutions in Italy recently conducted a study, published in the Andrology journal, to determine the association between alcohol intake and male reproductive function.
To do so, they assessed 323 men eligible for assisted reproductive techniques, treatments used to assist people with achieving pregnancy. Nearly 10 percent of the patients were abstainers, 30 percent drank one to three units of alcoholic beverages weekly, 30 percent drank four to seven, and 30 percent drank more than eight.
In this assessment, consuming four to seven units per week was considered moderate, and one unit is about 125 mL of wine or 330 mL of beer.
The analysts examined the subjects’ semen samples over the course of two years. They also interviewed the men, asking them questions about their physical activity and whether or not they smoked and drank caffeine.
After analyzing the results, they found those who drank four to seven units of alcohol a week had higher sperm counts and semen volume, compared to the other groups.
"The question of whether alcohol intake affects male reproductive function is controversial," the team wrote in the analysis. But in this trial, "(m)oderate alcohol intake appears positively associated to semen quality in male partners."
They said the different categorization of alcohol consumption and the different drinking habits of the populations studied may have contributed to the inconsistency between their findings and previous experiments.
While the scientists are unclear why there could be a relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and male fertility, they believe some drinks have ingredients that promote fertility.
The authors noted that beer and wine contain polyphenols, chemical compounds that have been linked to “strong therapeutic and cell protective potential.”
Despite the findings, the researchers said there were limitations in their study. The data they collected was self-reported, and they did not analyze the role of heavy or binge drinking. Therefore, they believe more research is needed.
"As this study has not addressed all concerns regarding the effect of male drinking on reproduction and fertility," they said, "other domains of reproductive outcomes need further investigation."