Meat-Eating Moms Have Less Fertile Sons
April 3, 2007
A new study in Human Reproduction finds that a pregnant woman’s meat consumption can reduce her future son’s sperm count. Researchers at the University of Rochester analyzed the relationship between various sperm parameters of 387 men and the eating habits of their mothers from the Study for Future Families. The more beef a mother consumed, the lower her son’s sperm concentration. Sperm count was 24 percent higher in men whose mothers consumed less beef. The difference may be due to steroid hormones found in animal products. Six hormones are commonly used in the United States to induce increased growth and development in cows, and measurable levels are routinely present in the animals’ muscle, fat, livers, kidneys, and other organs. Cows raised without extra hormones still have significant hormone levels in their tissues due to endogenous hormone production.
Swan SH, Liu F, Overstreet JW, Brazil C, Skakkebaek NE. Semen quality of fertile US males in relation to their mothers’ beef consumption during pregnancy. Hum Reprod. Advance access published on March 28, 2007.
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