Sperm quality may influence miscarriage rates. Can a man’s diet improve the quality of his sperm and reduce risk of miscarriage? When it comes to fertility and miscarriages in particular, women are usually the focus, but research suggests that folate can reduce the risk of a sperm abnormality responsible for some miscarriages. Men with diets high in folate had fewer incidents of sperm aneuploidy – a genetic defect linked to miscarriage, failure to conceive and Down’s syndrome.
While the study examined zinc, folate and antioxidants such are vitamins C and E, folate was the only nutrient which showed promising results. One caveat of this study is that folate intake was determined based on questionnaires each participant filled out regarding their dietary habits and not on actual blood levels of folate. This lends some inaccuracy to the results by making it more difficult to say that the folate is in fact what improved the men’s sperm as opposed to other factors.
Folate is necessary to make DNA properly, and as such is especially important during pregnancy when DNA is being made constantly. It is also can prevent anemia, may reduce your risk of cancer, and keep your mind sharp. For women, folate is important during pregnancy to prevent spina bifidia and high amounts of folate are found in prenatal vitamins for this purpose.
The current recommendation for folate intake in adults, of either gender, is 400µg/day. Achieving this without the use of supplements is not difficult, if you’re eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, that is. However, the most common way we get our folate these days is from fortified breakfast cereals. Many commercial brands are fortified to give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA), in 1 bowl.
To get some more folate in your diet, try incorporating the following foods:
- Romaine lettuce
- Green beans
- Great Northern beans
- Fortified breakfast cereals and pastas