Vegetarian men may have a problem in the bedroom.
A new study released by the Loma Linda Medical School found that men who abstain from eating red meat have a lower sperm count than their meat-eating counterparts. The university conducting the study is owned by Seventh Day Adventists, a protestant sect that requires its members to adhere to a strict vegetarian lifestyle.
The lifestyle is beneficial overall, as Seventh Day Adventists live to an average age of 89, 10 years longer than the average American. But when it comes to healthy sperm, vegetarian men come out behind.
The site eCanadaNow detailed the findings:
“As for what is causing the lower sperm count, researchers believe it may be that soy products do not promote the same sperm health as red meat. It may also be that the vegetarian subjects in the sample have a vitamin deficiency that adversely affects their sperm. Dr. Eliza Orzylowska, the study’s lead researcher, pointed out that the vegetarian males’ sperm counts do not make them infertile. At the same time, she stated that those wanting to get their partners pregnant will find the lower sperm count will ‘play a factor,’ which can only mean it may take longer for the couple to conceive.”
Researchers said the results could mean trouble conceiving for vegetarian couples.
“We found that diet does significantly affect sperm quality. Vegetarian and vegan diets were associated with much lower sperm counts than omnivorous diets,” said Dr Eliza Orzylowska, an obstetrician at Loma Linda University Medical Centre in California. “Although these people are not infertile, in is likely to play a factor in conception, particularly for couples who are trying to conceive naturally, the old fashioned way.”
Other research from Harvard University suggests that it is not the vegetarian diet itself impacting sperm counts, but rather one of the unintended side effects. Researchers there found that men consuming more fruit and vegetables may also be consuming more harmful pesticides, which can in turn impact sperm counts.
[Image via WebMD]