Infertility, or the inability of a couple to conceive a child when they wish to, is often thought of as a rare occurrence, but in fact it is more common than many realize. It is estimated that about 12% of couples in the United States are unable to conceive or have difficulty achieving conception. The reason for this inability is pretty evenly split; about one-third of the cases occur due to an issue with the female partner, about one-third are due to the male partner, and about one-third involve both partners. For men, this issue can be very challenging and demoralizing, which is why learning about factors that may contribute to infertility is valuable. A recent study suggests that dietary intake of milk products could play some role in male fertility issues.
The study, entitled “Relationship Between Dairy Product Consumption and Oligospermia: A Case-Control Study,” was published in the peer-reviewed Men’s Health Journal. The researchers were looking at oligospermia, which is defined as a “deficiency of spermatozoa in the semen” of a man. When there is less sperm, there is less chance of a man and a woman conceiving a child, so it’s an important predictor of possible infertility.
For the study, doctors looked at 102 men with oligospermia and 306 men with what would be considered “healthy” sperm. All of the participants provided information on diet, so the researchers were then able to see if there appeared to be a link between dairy intake and oligospermia.
The findings do suggest a role – but the exact role differs depending upon the dairy product. Basically, the scientists found that consuming more of high fat dairy (such as whole milk or ice cream) increased the risk of oligospermia. Conversely, consuming more of low-fat milk products seems to decrease the risk.
This study helps to support earlier theories that milk intake and sperm health are connected. A 2014 study had reached similar conclusions, and old wives tales have for years insinuated that drinking lots of milk might not be good for men wishing to sire a family.
But why should high-fat milk potentially have this effect? One possibility is simply that perhaps humans aren’t meant to consume milk from cows and goats. There is, after all, a rather high percentage of people with lactose intolerance, and even more who may suffer from what may be considered more occasional reactions to milk consumption. It could be that reactions to lactose have a farther-reaching effect than simply gastrointestinal disturbances.
Estrogen intake is also a possibility. Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone, just as testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. Men do have estrogen naturally, but not a great deal of it. When estrogen levels in men rise too high, it has a negative impact on sperm production, so maintaining a proper balance of estrogen and testosterone is necessary.
Milk products from cows tend to have high levels of estrogen, especially the fattier versions. It is suspected that this is even more the case than it was decades ago, due to changes in feed given to dairy cows. At any rate, many believe that men who consume the fattier milk products are adding too much estrogen, hence the sperm issues.
There are, of course, many reasons other than milk consumption that can affect fertility. Nevertheless, men experiencing difficulty conceiving may wish to cut back on high-fat dairy products and switch to low-fat versions instead.
In addition to watching dairy, keeping the [penis in general good health is also advised, which requires use an excellent penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). Be sure to select a crème with a range of vitamins, such as A, B5, C, D and E. In addition, keep the penis healthy by using a crème with L-arginine, which can help keep penile blood vessels properly expanded.