A research group from the University Rovira i Virgili are showing that the consumption of tree nuts (think: almonds, hazelnuts, etc.) have a positive impact on sperm DNA methylation.
Environmental and lifestyle factors are thought to be responsible for reducing the quality of sperm – the thought with this study was to illustrate that dietary changes may impact sperm quality an in particular sperm DNA methylation.
What is DNA Methylation?
This process refers to the natural changes your DNA goes through which don’t actually alter human DNA sequences. DNA methylation frequently prevents certain genes from expressing themselves. This, for example, may stop tumor-causing genes from turning themselves on and causing cancer.
How was the study conducted?
72 healthy (non smoking) men participated. The took 14 weeks to observe and split the group in to 48 participants who added a mix of nuts to their diet vs. 24 who didn’t (acting as the control group). Sperm quality was monitored.
What does it all mean?
Men that consume tree nuts dramatically improve: sperm count and viability. AKA: improved ability to fertilize and reproduce. Researchers note that the methylation in 36 genomic regions linked to sperm DNA had been significantly altered in the participants eating nuts during the experiment. Nearly all of these men (97.2%) displayed hypermethylation in their sperm DNA regions. (hypermethylation is an epigenetic control aberration that is important for gene inactivation in cancer cells.)
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