Fish Oil Supplements Linked To Better Reproductive Health In Young Men
Mainly used as a source of omega-3s, fish oil is a popular supplement with benefits like lowering blood pressure, decreasing heart attack risk, and assisting treatments to diseases like asthma, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. According to a new study, we may be able to add a boost in fertility1 to that list of benefits.
Researchers in Denmark studied 1,700 young men over a period of five years to see how fish oil supplements affected both sperm count and quality. Men were instructed to fill out questionnaires based on their dietary behaviors and provided semen and blood samples for examination.
The study found that men who reported taking fish oil supplements had significantly higher sperm count, along with a higher volume of semen. While this doesn't directly create a causal relationship between the supplements and fertility, the results are promising. A higher sperm count can lead to a greater chance of conception for couples, according to lead researcher Tina Kold Jensen, M.D. "Because they have a better sperm count, as a group they would have a better chance of fertilizing an egg," she says. Surprisingly, men who had taken other kinds of supplements did not differentiate from the men who didn't—fish oil was the only effective supplement for increased reproductive health.
Fertility challenges are an emotional and physical struggle that affects about 12% of couples2 in the United States currently. Any possible method to boost someone's ability to conceive is something to be hopeful about, although there are still more steps to be taken with this type of report.
What's next for this research?
The study was only observational, so more clinical trials would need to be completed before these results can be confirmed. The good news is, fish oil supplements are readily available in most stores so it can be easy to get started for those looking to get a boost.
Make sure you talk to your doctor before beginning any sort of supplementation, especially if you're struggling with fertility. It can be a difficult process, but know that you're not alone. Read through our tips from women's health experts, and check out how our modern society may be creating a fertility crisis.
Christina Coughlin is an SEO editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Georgetown University in 2019 with a degree in psychology and music.