sperm count

RECENT POSTS

Forbidden Fruit: Pesticide-Laden Produce Linked To Lower Semen Quality, Study Finds

(Robert S. Donovon/Flickr)

(Robert S. Donovon/Flickr)

That apple a day? Consider choosing it wisely: If it’s laden with pesticide residues, it could mess with your sperm.

That’s the analysis from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in a study published online this week in the journal Human Reproduction.

The study found that men who ate a range of fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, peppers, spinach and apples, with higher levels of pesticide residues had a lower sperm count and a lower percentage of normally-shaped sperm compared to men who ate produce with less pesticide residue. (This finding was true even after fruit was washed before eating.) Researchers said it’s the first study to examine exposure to pesticides and semen quality.

Senior study author Jorge Chavarro, assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, said the research doesn’t mean people should eliminate fruits and vegetables from their diet — on the contrary; rather consumers should simply choose more carefully. In an email, he wrote:

I think there are two main takeaways from this work. The first one is that, as interesting and potentially alarming these findings may be, this is the first time that pesticide residues in foods have been linked to an adverse reproductive health outcome in humans. It is therefore very important that these results are replicated in other studies, and ideally in randomized trials, before firm conclusions can be made one way or the other.

On the more practical end, the other important point is that our results point to a very specific role of high pesticide residue produce, rather than to intake of fruits and vegetables in general which means that strategies specifically aimed at avoiding high residue produces, such as consuming organic produce if budget allows or selecting fruits and vegetables known to have low levels of pesticide residues may be the preferred way to address this issue…

Chavarro said the easiest way to determine produce safety is to check the dirty dozen/clean fifteen list that the Environmental Working Group releases each year. Continue reading

Checking Your Sperm Count With Help From The Local Pharmacy

Is your sperm up to the task?

Soon, along with picking up prescriptions and getting a flu shot, men will be able to purchase a quick fertility test at the neighborhood drugstore.

Bloomberg reports that starting in April, Walgreen’s and CVS will sell a new product, SpermCheck, which will enable men to determine if they are fertile enough to get women pregnant. It’s being marketed as a way to “bridge the fertility gap” in which the burden is currently on women to establish their fertility.

In April, Walgreen’s 7,800 U.S. stores plan to start selling a fertility test that determines if a man is producing enough sperm to get a woman pregnant. Walgreen and CVS have already started selling SpermCheck Fertility online.

The blue-and-gold box, which features a smiling couple holding a newborn, will join more than two dozen varieties of female fertility tests in Walgreen stores. SpermCheck’s owner and distributor, closely held ContraVac Inc., is banking on women dropping an extra $40 for the test when they buy ovulation and pregnancy kits for themselves. Continue reading