CAMBRIDGE, MA (CBS Hartford) – A new study has found that sugar-sweetened drinks like soda may lower semen quality.
Researchers found that low sperm motility, or sperm movement, was associated with the high consumption of sugary drinks in healthy men who are lean. They did not find any relationship between sugary drink consumption and sperm motility in men who are obese.
The semen of 189 men between the ages of 18 and 22 from Rochester, NY were analyzed by researchers. The participants received a physical exam and answered a questionnaire about their health habits and diet. They also provided a semen sample.
Men self-reported on how often they consumed sugar-sweetened drinks over the past year, from zero to six drinks per day.
Study author Jorge Chavarro, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard University, explained to Live Science that sugary drinks included more than just sodas. Roughly 40 percent of the sugar-sweetened beverages the men reported drinking were sports drinks.
The study found that the top 25 percent of men who participated in the study drank an average of 2.7 sugar-sweetened beverages per day. Lean men in this high-intake category had 6.3 percent lower sperm motility than their counterparts who consumed on average, less than one sugary drink per day. One glass, bottle or can or roughly 12 oz. was defined as one serving.
“Fertility could be another reason to look at how many sodas you’re drinking, but there are many other health reasons to watch your intake of sugar-sweetened drinks,” Chavarro told Live Science.
Lower levels of a reproductive hormone called the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which helps control sperm production, was associated with higher sugary drink intake. Men in the study, both lean and obese, who drank the most sugary drinks had slightly lower FSH levels.
The study was published in the journal Human Reproduction.