Dietary patterns are positively associated with semen quality

Michal Efrat, Anat Stein, Haim Pinkas, Ron Unger, Ruth Birk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Objective: To study association of semen quality with a priori whole dietary pattern indexes, which reflect real-world dietary practices and the numerous combinations by which foods are consumed: Healthy Eating Index (HEI), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), alternate Mediterranean Diet score (aMED), and Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI). Design: A cross-sectional single-center study. Setting: Hospital fertility center and university. Patient(s): A total of 280 men attending fertility center from 2012 to 2015. Intervention(s): Food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and semen and sperm analysis. Main Outcome Measure(s): Food consumption with the use of FFQ and HEI, AHEI, aMED, DASH nutritional individual scoring indexes. Semen parameters, including semen volume, sperm concentration, motility, total count, and morphology. Result(s): Comparing the highest and lowest quartiles of the nutritional indexes, men in the highest quartiles of HEI, AHEI, aMed, and DASH indexes had significantly higher adjusted means of sperm concentration (by 10%, 45%, and 24% for HEI, AHEI, and DASH, respectively), normal sperm morphology (by 21% and 8% for AHEI and DASH, respectively), total sperm count (by 29% for AHEI), and sperm motility (by 6% and 11% for aMed and HEI, respectively). Conclusion(s): Adherence to any of the four dietary indexes is associated with better overall sperm quality, with AHEI best associated. Following our novel findings, we recommend using AHEI as a clinical and practical tool for public whole nutritional recommendation for semen quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-816
Number of pages8
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Semen
  • dietary indexes
  • nutrition
  • sperm


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