What is it about?

Fatty acid (FA) composition of the spermatozoa may be an important determinant of fertility. The aim was to evaluate polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) composition of the blood plasma and spermatozoa in infertile men with idiopathic oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (OAT).

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Why is it important?

Infertility affects approximately 10–15% of reproductive-age couples. In 25% of cases, infertility is attributable to poor semen quality. Because the aetiology and pathogenesis are still not fully understood, a significant proportion of male infertility is considered idiopathic. The distress and personal devastation experienced by couples suffering infertility has been recognized in different cultures worldwide. Dietary supplementation and nutritional intervention became popular means of support for our desire for longevity, while being physically and emotionally healthier and smarter. In recent years we have faced a dramatic rise in the use of ‘‘over the counter’’ medications to combat infertility and improve semen quality. According to Carlsen et al.’s report, sperm concentration had fallen by 40% over the past 50 years.


These results demonstrate a selective deficit in the omega-3 fatty acids in the blood plasma and spermatozoa of patients with idiopathic OAT. The possibility that diets poor in omega-3 FAs and rich in omega-6 FAs contribute to poor semen quality and sperm function is becoming increasingly recognized. There is a need for future, large, prospective studies to confirm the results of the present study.

Dr Mohammad Reza Safarinejad
University of Medical Sceices

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Relationship of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids with semen characteristics, and anti-oxidant status of seminal plasma: A comparison between fertile and infertile men, Clinical Nutrition, February 2010, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.clnu.2009.07.008.
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