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Can Your Obesity Make You Infertile?

March 4, 2018
Katie Visco

A lot of fertility studies focus on women and how their diet and exercise levels can affect their fertility, but a new study published in Frontiers in Physiology looked at how obesity may affect male infertility.

What did researchers find?

The study used body mass index (BMI) to clarify their definition of obesity. They found that obese men had more inflammation in various tissues, including in their reproductive organs. This can decrease sperm quality. 

The researchers first studied mice. They checked the inflammation levels of their reproductive tracks before and after feeding them a high fat diet so they would become obese. Their testosterone decreased, and there was an increase in certain proteins that can decrease sperm function.

They then studied sperm samples donated by a range of men with differing BMIs. They found far more inflammatory proteins, the ones that affect sperm function, in overweight and obese men. Sperm concentration and their ability to move also decreased.  

What does this mean for me?

Overweight and obese men may have more trouble with fertility than those with a lower BMI. However, the researchers did say that more studies are needed to prove anything definitively or to decide where to go from here. 

What they recommend for obese men who are having fertility issues is that they lose weight to reduce chronic inflammation, if possible. 

The researchers also suggested that there may be other therapies to help with this issue on the way, like targeted treatments to reduce the chronic inflammation of the reproductive tract. Unfortunately, that treatment doesn't yet exist, but with all of the research being done into fertility, it may arrive soon!

If you're struggling with fertility, this may be part of your problem. The best solution is always to contact your doctor and to see what solutions are right for your partner to keep you healthy and happy and hopefully with a baby!

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