Monday, October 6th, 2014
Women hoping to get pregnant aren’t the only 0nes who should cut back on alcohol consumption, new research suggests.
According to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal men who drank alcohol “moderately”—that’s five or more drinks a week—were found to have poorer sperm quality than those who drank less.
“Quality” was defined in the study as total sperm count and sperm size, among other factors.
The study looked at roughly 1,200 Danish men ages 18-28 who, besides their sperm quality, were otherwise considered healthy.
Drinking alcohol in the preceding week before the men were tested was also linked to changes in their reproductive hormone levels—testosterone levels rose while sex hormone binding globuline (SBHG) fell.
Researchers are wary to say just yet that alcohol consumption causes poor sperm quality because this is the first study of its kind. The findings could also show that men who naturally have lower sperm quality are more likely to drink more.
But, they left the bottom line at this: “It remains to be seen whether semen quality is restored if alcohol intake is reduced, but young men should be advised that high habitual alcohol intake may affect not only their general health, but also their reproductive health.”
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Photo of cocktail courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Monday, March 24th, 2014
When it comes to getting pregnant, there’s the old saying, “Stop worrying. It will happen once you stop trying.” Well, now there is a new study to back it up. During the study, those with high alpha-amylase levels (a sign of long-term stress) had double the risk of infertility. The New York Times reports:
Over four years, 401 women who were stopping contraception and trying to have a baby underwent saliva testing for two stress-related substances: the enzyme alpha-amylase, and the hormone cortisol. The women provided a saliva sample upon enrollment in the study, and then another at their first observed menstrual period, so that comparisons between the women could be made from the same starting point.
Researchers analyzed the samples and then followed the women to see how long it took them to become pregnant. Women who became pregnant during the first month of the study (before they could give a second saliva sample) were also included in the analysis.
The scientists defined infertility as a failure to become pregnant after 12 months of unprotected intercourse. During the study, published Monday in Human Reproduction, 347 women became pregnant and 54 did not.
There was no association of cortisol with fertility. But those whose alpha-amylase levels were in the highest third, a sign of longstanding stress, had more than double the risk of infertility. The scientists controlled for age, race, income and other health and socioeconomic factors.
The lead author, Courtney D. Lynch, director of reproductive epidemiology at Ohio State University, said that if a woman was having difficulty becoming pregnant, it would be harmless, and might be helpful, to consider stress-reduction techniques.
“Yoga, meditation, mindfulness have been successful in other health outcomes,” she said, “and might be helpful for fertility as well.”
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Image: Young caucasian girl sitting and checking pregnant test over white via ShutterStock
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