Does anyone have access to the source material for this study on sperm count and saturated fat?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 14, 2012 at 3:07 PM

This study has been making rounds today and I was wondering if anyone had any insight on it. My first instinct is to dismiss it but it seems like a rather large pool so maybe there's something to it. Does anyone have access to the full text? I'm not looking for the standard "it's the conventional meat" Or "unhealthy people tend I eat more saturated fat" answer. It looks like both sets of men were pretty equally overweight/unhealthy.



on March 14, 2012
at 03:47 PM


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4 Answers


on March 14, 2012
at 05:28 PM

Thanks for posting the link to the actual paper, Melissa.

What got my attention was the recommendation to lower saturated fat intake to improve sperm counts in the Science Daily article linked in the question, so I took a closer look at it.

However, here's the data from the study:

Sat Fat [%] / Total Sperm Count [millions] / Sperm Concentration [millions/mL]

8 / 209 / 85

10 / 116 / 48

13 / 122 / 50

Not much difference between the medium and high numbers, with the high numbers being somewhat better, suggesting maybe there are some outliers in the low saturated fat group, that the parameter is not really relevant, or the relationship is more U-shaped than linear.

All their trends were taken from linear regression models, so their tests for statistical significance are a little suspect here. I'd love to see the raw data, or at least see it broken up into smaller subsets to see if any trend remains at all - it seems a bit odd that the data is grouped into tertiles (thirds) instead quintiles (fifths).

As well, although the arterycloggingsaturatedfats got bad billing in the press coverage, the data for consumption of monounsaturated fats was almost identical, and also statistically significant:

Mono Fat [%] / Total Sperm Count [millions] / Sperm Concentration [millions/mL]

10 / 201 / 84

12 / 119 / 46

15 / 124 / 52

So where's the call for baby-making men to put down the olive oil?

In any case, this wasn't an intervention study, so we don't know what impact dietary changes have, this is just some speculation based on correlations.



on March 14, 2012
at 07:07 PM

Well... I can tell you that my wife and I were trying to make another baby for the last 18 months but with no luck... went to a doctor, he asked for a semen analysis. To my surprise my count was 2.2 million (the range should have been between 30m an 80m).

He knows my history of gastric bypass (2 and a half years ago), and had told me that that might be a factor, since I also had my gallbladder removed, he is under the impression that the fat I eat doesn't get digested as well, and therefore might have effected my count.

Began Paleo 3 days ago, and need to go for another SA in 3 months. I can let you know if there was any improvement or not!

I began a blog where I keep note of everything I eat, and how I feel during the day, as well as some biomarkers (i.e. blood tests, body fat percentage etc.) This of course is to help me track the improvements if any after 8 weeks (http://paleoarabia.wordpress.com).

Hope that helps!



on March 14, 2012
at 03:42 PM

Yes. I can get it through my UCLA VPN Client, I actually have it sitting in front of me.

If you'd like, I can email it to you... not sure about attachment rules here.


on March 14, 2012
at 08:20 PM

I skimmed a news article on that today after seeing it's headline on Google News. I quickly realized it was yet another lame study based on notoriously inaccurate recall data from a bunch of SAD eaters. Of course it couldn't have been all the refined carbs, omega-6 oils, and sugar those SAD eaters inhale all day. It just haaaas to be the sat-fat don't ya know...cause that stuff is "artery-clogging-sludge" don't ya know. Yet more BS propaganda from the politically correct diet dictocrats as far as I can tell.

NEVER put too much stock in correlation studies. I require a much higher standard of scientific proof. Cause correlation does NOT equal causation baby!

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