June 17 -- TUESDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- Antioxidants play an important role in semen quality, according to new research from Spain.
The study found that "men with good semen quality ate more vegetables and fruit (more vitamins, folic acid and fiber and less protein and fats) than those men with low seminal quality," the lead author, Jaime Mendiola, a researcher at the University of Murcia, said in a news release.
Antioxidants, found mainly in fruits and vegetables, lower the level of oxidative stress that can affect semen quality, the researchers explained, and also improve sperm concentration and mobility.
The study included 61 men -- 30 with reproductive problems and 31 who did not have such issues. It appears online in the journal Fertility and Sterility.
An earlier study by the same team "showed that men who eat large amounts of meat and full-fat dairy products have lower seminal quality than those who eat more fruit, vegetables and reduced-fat dairy products," Mendiola said.
But the new study "found that people who consume more fruits and vegetables are ingesting more antioxidants, and this is the important point," Mendiola said. "A healthy diet is not only a good way of avoiding illness but could also have an impact on improving seminal quality."
"What we still do not understand is the difference between taking these vitamins naturally and in the form of supplements," the researcher added. "In the studies we are going to carry out in the United States (where the consumption of vitamins in tablet form is very common), we will be looking at the role of supplements."
The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has more about reproductive health.
SOURCE: Plataforma SINC, news release, June 2, 2009