Dairy intake and semen quality among men attending a fertility clinic

Among men attending a fertility clinic, low-fat dairy intake, particularly low-fat milk, was related to higher sperm concentration and progressive motility, whereas cheese intake was related to lower sperm concentration.

Myriam C. Afeiche, Ph.D., Naima D. Bridges, M.D., M.P.H., Paige L. Williams, Sc.D., Audrey J. Gaskins, B.S.E., Cigdem Tanrikut , M.D., John C. Petrozza, M.D., Russ Hauser, Sc.D., Jorge E. Chavarro, M.D., Sc.D.

Volume 101, Issue 5, Pages 1280–1287.e2


To examine the relationship between dairy food intake and semen parameters.

Longitudinal study.

Academic medical center fertility clinic.

One hundred fifty-five men.


Main Outcome Measure(s):
Total sperm count, sperm concentration, progressive motility, morphology, and semen volume.

Low-fat dairy intake was positively related to sperm concentration and progressive motility. On average, men in the highest quartile of intake (1.22–3.54 servings/d) had 33% (95% confidence interval [CI] 1, 55) higher sperm concentration and 9.3 percentage units (95% CI 1.4, 17.2) higher sperm motility than men in the lowest quartile of intake (≤0.28 servings/d). These associations were primarily explained by intake of low-fat milk. The corresponding results for low-fat milk were 30% (95% CI 1, 51) higher sperm concentration and 8.7 percentage units (95% CI 3.0, 14.4) higher sperm motility. Cheese intake was associated with lower sperm concentration among ever-smokers. In this group, men in the highest tertile of intake (0.82–2.43 servings/d) had 53.2% (95% CI 9.7, 75.7) lower sperm concentration than men in the lowest tertile of cheese intake (

Our findings suggest that low-fat dairy intake, particularly low-fat milk, is related to higher sperm concentration and progressive motility, whereas cheese intake is related to lower sperm concentration among past or current smokers.

  • Juan carlos Martinez

    Congratulations for the article In this Article the authors examine the
    relationship between diary intake and semen quality.

    In general, their results are agree with previous studies that found a direct relationship between low- fat dairy foods especially low-fat milk and semen quality. The search of correlations between food intake and seminal quality is difficult to evaluate because there are a lot of confounders factors. The authors made a comprehensive statistical study in order to avoid this confounding
    factor, however some results have difficult explication as for example the
    relationship between cheese intake in smokers and sperm concentration.
    I think the authors don´t explain enough their results and this is a weak point in this research

  • Another study on dietary modification on fertility. It is often difficult when a patient asked me about “natural” ways of boost a man’s fertility. Until better data is available, variation of spiel among urologists will continue to exist

  • Low fat milk = good for sperm.
    Cheese = bad.
    Not sure what to tell my lactose intolerant patients due to phytoestrogenic effects of soy.
    Maybe Almond or hemp milk?

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