Older men looking to become fathers should pay just as much attention, if not more, to what they eat instead of relying on medications to promote function and fertility.
The findings of a study led by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) found that a healthy intake of micronutrients is strongly associated with improved sperm DNA quality in older men.
In an analysis of 80 healthy male volunteers between 22 and 80 years of age, the scientists found that men older than 44 who consumed the most vitamin C had 20 percent less sperm DNA damage compared to men older than 44 who consumed the least vitamin C. The same was true for vitamin E, zinc and folate.
The mechanism at work seems to be what’s called antioxidant-potential. Studies have shown that dietary supplementation with antioxidants and increased consumption of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can decrease the amount of oxidative DNA damage.
“It appears that consuming more micronutrients such as vitamin C, E, folate and zinc helps turn back the clock for older men. We found that men 44 and older who consumed at least the recommended dietary allowance of certain micronutrients had sperm with a similar amount of DNA damage as the sperm of younger men,” said Andy Wyrobek of Berkeley Lab’s Life Sciences Division.