Yogurt makes male mice more fertile — could the same be true for humans?

Carolyn Morris
Shine On Blogger
Shine On

Can yogurt increase a man's fertility? There is no evidence of that, but it has improved the fertility of male mice in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study.

And with new research suggesting that up to 16 per cent of Canadian heterosexual couples in which the woman is aged 18 to 44 are having fertility troubles, any tips that could boost chances of conceiving are welcome.

Researchers from the MIT study found out some unexpected results last summer when they were trying to test the effects yogurt has on obesity.

"The most entertaining aspects of all this were things we didn't anticipate," biologist and researcher Susan Erdman tells Scientific American.

Also see: Med student thinks disability will make him a better doctor

She and evolutionary geneticist Eric Alm fed a group of 40 male and 40 female mice either a junk food diet high in fat and low in fiber and nutrients, or standard mouse food. Then they fed half of each group vanilla-flavoured yogurt as well.

One of the things they noticed was the swagger — the "mouse swagger." It turns out that the yogurt consumers were moving strangely to make up for testicles that were five per cent heavier than those on a typical diet, and 15 per cent heavier than the junk food consumers.

The new weight paid off in the nest. Yogurt-eating males were faster to inseminate their partners and made more offspring than mice that didn't have yogurt.

Female yogurt-consumers also produced more offspring than the females who weren't fed yogurt.

Also see: Zinc: Further evidence suggests it reduces cold duration

Toronto-based dietitian, Anar Allidina isn't surprised that yogurt might lead to greater fertility. She's a fan of probiotics and their healthy powers.

"Yogurt has good bacteria that will help balance things out," she says. It's good for people suffering from diarrhea, constipation and those taking antibiotics.

Food packed with zinc, like oysters and pumpkin seeds are also on the list of fertility foods.

"Being at a healthy weight is really important for fertility as well, for both men and women," Allidina says.

And the MIT researchers aren't the only ones looking at yogurt's role in fertility. Harvard nutritional epidemiologist Jorge Chavarro is studying yogurt consumption and how it relates to the quality of a man's semen.

"So far our preliminary findings are consistent with what they see in the mice," Chavarro tells Scientific American.

Concerned about your fertility? Why not start with some yogurt...it certainly can't hurt.

Watch the informative video below about bogus celebrity fad diets.