Moderate alcohol intake linked with improved male fertility

The question of whether alcohol intake affects male reproductive function is controversial. In a new Andrology study, moderate alcohol intake was linked with higher semen volume, sperm concentration, and total sperm count.

In the study of 323 men patients, 9.6% were abstainers, 30.0% drank <1–3, 30.3% drank 4–7, and 30.0% drank ≥8 alcohol units per week. (1 unit = 125 mL wine or 330 mL beer or 30 mL spirits, all containing approximately 12.5 g of ethanol). Compared with men drinking <1–3 units per week, median semen volume was higher in the 4–7 units/week group, as was total sperm count. Association with sperm concentration was also significant, with a U-shaped trend in groups of alcohol intake.

"As regards low intake, our findings are consistent with other research. In Italy, alcohol consumption is common but usually limited to small quantities, and this applies in particular to men referring to our Infertility Clinic," said lead author Dr. Elena Ricci, of the Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, in Italy. "Since the dose makes the poison, they are counselled to limit but not avoid alcohol."

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