Thinner Young Men Have More Sperm

This just in: obese young men have lower sperm counts in comparison with their peers who are of normal weight. This is according to a new study that was published in Fertility and Sterility. These findings help confirm a link between obesity and diminished quality in male sperm.

Several studies have found that in comparison with lean men, those men who are obese have a tendency toward lowered sperm counts, poor motility (sperm movement), and a smaller quantity of progressively motile sperm. The latter refers to sperm that move forward toward the egg target as opposed to wandering around in the reproductive tract in an aimless manner.

Age Factor

But until now, age is a factor that hadn't been much considered in this apparent link between sperm quality and obesity. It was known that older men have reduced sperm quality in comparison with younger men, and it was also known that older men tend to carry more body fat than their younger counterparts.

In the new study, however, which included 2,000 male participants, the obese men aged 20-30 had lower sperm counts when compared to their peers of normal weight. The implications of this observation on the future fertility of younger obese men, has not been clarified. Even those studies concentrating on the effects of obesity on sperm quality in older men have had conflicting results as to whether being obese impairs a man's fertility.

Fertility Impact?

Lead author of this study, Germany's Uwe Paasch, of the University of Leipzig comments that even his new findings don't really tell us whether the differences in sperm count between normal-weight and obese men will absolutely have an impact on their fertility.

In Paasch's study, Paasch and colleagues availed themselves of information contained in a database on men who had received semen analyses from 1999-2005. The 2,157 participants had an average age of 30 years and none had known issues of infertility.

While the obese men tended to have lower average sperm counts than their normal-weight peers, these sperm counts were still within normal range. According to the National Institutes of Health, normal sperm counts are anywhere from 20 to150 million for each milliliter of semen.

While Paasch doesn't know if obesity in men, even in young men, will cause fertility problems, he believes his research conclusions might persuade young men to change their habits and bring their weight down to normal levels.

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