While a diet high in fruits and vegetables has many notable benefits – protection against illness and prolonged life span – a diet without meat can lead to lower sperm count. LLU researchers found that vegetarians and vegans had lower sperm motility and 20 million sperm per mL less than their carnivore counterparts.
“We found that diet does significantly affect sperm quality. Vegetarian and vegan diets were associated with much lower sperm counts than omnivorous diets,” Dr Eliza Orzylowska an obstetrician at Loma Linda University Medical Centre
Loma Linda, California is a region with a high population of Seventh Day Adventists, who lead a vegetarian lifestyle due to religions reasons. The average life expectancy in this region is 10 years above the national average and has caused Loma Linda to be labeled as a Blue Zone, an area where people live longer and healthier lives than the average human. There are only six Blue Zones in the world. The high population of vegetarians is said to be a leading factor in Loma Linda’s Blue Zone classification.
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Notes about this article
From Philip J. Chan Ph.D., HCLD
Andrology Lab Director
This study originally sought to show the benefits of vegan or vegetarian diets on males. It did not link the avoidance of meat with a negative effect on fertility. There are other diets such as fish and seafood diets that should be taken into consideration. On average, vegetarians may have lower sperm count and motility but the numbers are still in the fertile range.
More research is needed to confirm the early findings.