17 Aug 2012, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: A study published in the recent issue of Biology of Reproduction Papers-in-Press highlighted that consumption of 75 grams of walnuts per day led to the improvement in sperm vitality, motility, and morphology in a group of healthy young men between 21-35 years of age.
The research suggests that walnuts provide key nutrients that may be essential in male reproductive health. Professor Wendie Robbins, who led the research at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Nursing, said that, "the positive finding of walnuts on sperm may be a result of their unique nutrient profile."
Walnuts are the only nut that are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. The study reported higher amounts of ALA provided by walnuts, correlated with less frequent aneuploidy or abnormal cell sperm chromosome numbers that can result in genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome.
In addition to ALA, walnuts have high antioxidant content, along with numerous micronutrients that Dr Robbins thinks may work together synergistically. Co-investigator and UCLA associate professor of medicine and nursing, Dr Catherine Carpenter, believes that, "These findings are not surprising when you look at the nutritious content of walnuts, however, the results are amazing considering the impact they might have on men of all ages, including older men, and men with impaired fertility."
According to Dr Robbins, science is suggesting that a father's diet not only impacts fertility, but can also influence the health of the child and future generations. He commented that, "diet is not just maternal territory anymore." It appears the nutrition status of fathers can be passed down trans-generationally and affect the health of generations to come.