Walnuts and the sperm count in men could be connected, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of California found a stark difference between two groups' sperm counts, sperm strength, sperm development, and sperm function.
Walnuts affected the sperm count of a group of men told to eat a 75g pack of the nuts every day for three months, as compared to a control group, who purposely avoided the snack. After the duration of the experiment, the group eating the walnuts had an increased concentration and quality of sperm overall, Daily Mail reported.
The men in their 20s and 30s chosen for the trial also showed differences in the ways their sperm swam. Those consuming walnuts also demonstrated stronger swimming sperm than men who did not- a 3 percent average increase was seen.
The trial could have showcased the side effects of the nuts, however. A few of the man told to eat the walnuts for three months showed signs of aneuploidy, a condition wherein some sperm are made with too many or two few chromosomes.
The good and bad of walnuts comes from the snack's polyunsaturated fats, reported Daily Mail. Walnuts contain omega 3 and omega 6- two nutrients rarely found in Western diets and known for their function in sperm development. Omega 3 and omega 6 can also be found in oily fish.
Despite the possible side effects, the news is good for couples struggling to conceive. 1 in 6 couples have difficulty getting pregnant, and researchers estimate that 40 percent of those issues are because of problems with the man's sperm. The genetic makeup, swimming ability, amount and concentration of sperm are all important factors for procreation.
The "quite modest" increase in sperm count found should warn some that walnuts are not a panacea for fertility problems, Allan Pacey, a fertility expert at the University of Sheffield, said.
"I would be cautious about recommending this as a therapy for infertility until it has been studied further," he added.