Five units of alcohol a week lower sperm countBy Melita Kiely
Drinking as few as five units of alcohol per week could lower men’s sperm count, new research shows.
Furthermore, according to the study – published in the journal BMJ Open – the more alcohol consumed, the weaker the quality of sperm.
The study analysed 1,200 Danish male military recruits aged between 18 and 28, who all has a medical assessment between 2008 and 2012, which included questions regarding their drinking habits and the chance to provide sperm and blood samples.
On average, the number of units consumed the week before was 11, while almost two thirds (64%) admitted to binge drinking and six out of 10 (59%) said they had been drunk more than twice in the past month. Nearly half (45%) said their alcohol intake the week before was typical of their weekly consumption.
The researchers discovered drinking more alcohol the preceding week was connected to changes in reproductive hormone levels, and the effects of this increased when the intake of alcohol was higher.
It found testosterone levels rose, while the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) declined.
From just five units of alcohol a week, the effects were evident and more pronounced when alcohol intake rose above 25 units a week.
The study reported total sperm counts were down 33% and the number of “normal-looking” sperm was 51% lower among men downing 40 units per week.
“Our study suggests that even modest habitual alcohol consumption of more than five units per week had adverse effects on semen quality although most pronounced associations were seen in men who consumed more than 25 units per week,” the authors wrote.
“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 but also their reproductive health.”