Walnut Enriched Diet May Improve Sperm Quality

Continued research into infertility and the natural ways to remedy it often capture the interest of couples struggling to conceive. Recently, a look at walnuts and their impact on sperm quality in animals has researchers excited about potential breakthrough technology for men struggling with poor sperm quality.

Because walnuts contain the exact same fatty acids found in sperm membranes, researcher set out to determine whether added consumption of these fatty acids could strengthen sperm membranes. The research, completed by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health & School of Nursing, found that a diet rich in walnuts had an overwhelmingly positive impact on sperm quality in animals, specifically in strengthening sperm membranes.

Researchers found that the diet also reduces lipid peroxidation, a process known to damage sperm cells. In addition to the strengthened sperm membranes, researchers found that the sperm also had improved morphology and motility when mice consumed just shy of 20% of their daily fat calories from walnuts. For humans, that translates to just 2.5 ounces of walnut intake per day.

While this study focused only on animals, similar studies have been completed to study the impact of walnuts on human sperm. Those studies also found that sperm vitality, motility, and morphology were improved with a diet containing at least 75g of walnuts per day.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans has already endorsed a diet heavy in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Walnuts are the only tree nut available to be heavily composed of these types of acids, with as many as 13 out of 18 grams of fat being PUFAs. Even if we can’t yet be certain that walnuts will strengthen human sperm membranes, they certainly aren’t bad for you, and it can’t hurt to add them to your diet.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.