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Taking fish oil pills daily could give men bigger testicles, new research suggests.
Researchers found those taking the supplement had better sperm, healthier hormone levels and bigger testicles.
Fish oil tablets seems to boost sperm counts as well as the “motility” or health of the individual sperm.
The findings come in the military health assessments of 1,700 Danish men enrolling for national service.
The study by University of Southern Denmark also found those taking fish oil also had healthier testosterone levels on average.
Author Tina Kold Jensen said: “A decline in semen quality has been documented during the past 50 to 70 years.
“We found that intake of fish oil supplements during the past three months was associated with higher semen volume, total sperm count, and testis size.”
On average sperm counts among men in developed nations have fallen in recent decades. Scientists still do not know why but suspect it may be linked to diets.
Top UK fertility expert Prof Allan Pacey, of Sheffield University, said: “The research shows that men who took fish oil supplements during the three months before they produced a semen sample, had slightly larger testicles, ejaculated more sperm and had a healthier looking profile of two key hormones.
“On the face of it, this would suggest that fish oil supplements might be good for fertility.
“However, before men or their partners reach for the cod liver oil, it is important to note that this study is not a randomised controlled trial. As such, we cannot conclude absolutely that it’s the fish oil which is causing this improvement.”
Sheena Lewis, professor of reproductive medicine at Queen’s University Belfast, said: “This is a large well-designed study and the association between fish oil intake and improved semen quality is compelling.”
Previous studies found better sperm in men who consumed a lot of seafood, poultry, cereals and skimmed milk.
Other factors linked to sperm quality include smoking rates, pollution levels and lack of exercise.
Dr Kevin McEleny, Consultant Andrologist and British Fertility Society committee member, said: “In the study there were very few men who took only fish oil and no other supplement. They also tended to have healthier lifestyles and in particular tended not to smoke.
“Being fit and healthy is important for male and female reproductive health. This doesn’t help us to say whether fish oil specifically is helpful.
“Ultimately, whatever the reason, young, fit and healthy men who took fish oil tended to have slightly higher semen volume, higher sperm count, larger testicles, and healthier hormone levels.”