Viability, motility and morphology of sperm would be improved by the regular consumption of nuts, hazelnuts, almonds and other nuts, according to a new scientific study. Details of the results observed.


It has been known for several years that many environmental factors, linked in particular to quality of life (tobacco, alcohol, sedentary lifestyle) are involved in the decline in male fertility.

 What is the phenomenon of methylation?

These "bad habits" have the effect of modifying the methylation of DNA in our cells (known as epigenetic modifications), which does not affect the DNA itself but can alter certain biological functions. Because a methylated gene does not express itself, and therefore cannot lead to the creation of a protein. Several studies have found a strong link between methylation of sperm DNA and poor sperm quality.

However, it seems that it is possible to act on this methylation phenomenon, and ultimately to improve the quality of sperm, via food. In a new study, published in the journal Andrology, researchers report having observed that the consumption of nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and other oilseeds) acts on the phenomenon of methylation, which would ultimately improve the quality of sperm.

 Act through food

The Spanish-American research team here recruited 72 young, healthy, non-smoking men in a trial called “Fertinuts”. 48 of them were included in the “nuts” group: they consumed 60 grams per day of various nuts, for 14 weeks. The remaining 24 participants were included in the control group, and kept their Western diet, however avoiding eating oilseeds. The quality of the participants' semen was observed at the start of the study and then at the end of 14 weeks.

Verdict: The methylation of 36 regions of the genome was significantly different between the start and the end of the experiment in the group that consumed oilseeds, with 97.2% of these regions exhibiting hypermethylation. Proof for researchers that it is possible to act on the phenomenon of DNA methylation through food alone.

“This work shows that there are sensitive regions of the sperm epigenome that respond to diet, which can lead to changes in the composition of the sperm and in its ability to fertilize (an egg, editor's note)”, concluded Albert Salas-Huetos, first author of the study.

Note that nuts, rich in omega-3, are also recommended to maintain good cardiovascular health and good brain function.