Can Veganism Affect Sperm Health?

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Recently, it has become extremely popular for society to adhere to a vegan diet. Various resources and research have documented the benefits that a vegan diet can have on an individual’s overall health, but questions still arise if veganism can affect the quality of sperm and possibly cause a decline in male fertility. The surge in adopting a plant-based lifestyle has left couples asking questions about the possible impact that this diet can have on their reproductive health.


Adopting a vegan lifestyle includes an individual to abstain from using any products that come from animals like meat and eggs, avoiding products that are derived from animals like leather, and where possible, avoiding products tested on animals. This results in an overall more plant-based diet. Vegans have various positive things going for them like maintaining a healthy lifestyle by consuming more fruits and vegetables, losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight and they also consume high amounts of fibre and carbohydrates that give them the needed energy to train and stay active. Some negative things about veganism are that commonly they might not get all the nutrients they need and struggle to get enough protein if they do not take protein supplements and they might feel more tired when training or practising a physically demanding job due to an insufficient intake of protein.

Nutritional Factors Necessary for Sperm Health

Various factors can negatively impact sperm health. These factors vary from biological disease, exposure to environmental factors and even lifestyle choices. In order to maintain good sperm quality, it is important for men to practise healthy lifestyle choices by consuming healthy foods and staying active.

Various nutrients are needed to maintain healthy sperm. Consuming foods that are high in antioxidants, such as kale and spinach, plays an important role in the integrity of sperm health. Various stressors can cause oxidative stress that can affect sperm cells’ function and eventually lead to poor-quality sperm and a decrease in the production of sperm. These antioxidants help to prevent the damage that oxidative stress can cause, enhancing and maintaining the quality of sperm.



Zinc is also an important nutrient that plays a role in improving sperm quality. It works in a way that results in an increase in sperm concentration and sperm motility, but also helps sperm cells to stay viable. Zinc also has some antioxidant properties. Zinc can be found in food sources such as seafood, legumes, nuts seeds and meat.


Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids are known to have a positive impact on an individual’s overall health, but it has also been found that they can positively impact a male’s reproductive health by enhancing sperm motility. A study has also shown that omega 3 can improve the seminal volume and increase free testosterone, causing an increase in the production of sperm. Omega 3 can mainly be found in food sources such as fish, fish oils, plant oils, eggs, nuts and seeds.



L-arginine is an amino acid that is mostly found in pharmaceutical supplements. It has been shown that this amino acid plays an important role in improving spermatogenesis and helps men improve their sexual functioning. This is also found in food sources, mostly in meat products, soy and whole grains.

Vegan Diet and Male Fertility

Can a vegan diet cause lower-quality sperm? The answer is yes and no. Various studies have had different results and more research needs to be done on this topic in order to provide a definite answer. It has been shown that certain nutrients are essential in maintaining healthy sperm, including their viability and their functioning. In the case where an individual’s vegan diet does not include important nutrients such as zinc or foods high in antioxidant properties, there is a high chance that their sperm quality might decline. It is also important to be aware of the role that protein intake plays in the male's reproductive health. Studies have shown that a diet that is low in protein can cause a decrease in testicular size, causing a decrease in testosterone that eventually affects the production of sperm causing a decrease in sperm count and eventually leading to poor reproductive health.

On the other hand, if an individual ensures the intake of sufficient amount of nutrients that they need for healthy sperm, their sperm quality might not decline. This can be done by comparing the nutrients that one would be taking in during a normal healthy diet that consists of animal products and trying to substitute it with other food types that can fuel an individual with those needed nutrients.

Doctor’s Consultation

In the case where a male practises veganism and is struggling to conceive with his partner, it is recommended to speak to a doctor. The doctor can do a blood test to ensure optimal nutrient levels and also test semen parameters to ensure that they are in range. The doctor will be able to diagnose if the male has any problems that can cause the struggle of conceiving and they might also be able to give advice or recommend certain treatment regimes.


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