Fertility and pregnancy * Men's health * Healthy living

Does drinking cola affect sperm quality?

drinking cola can affect sperm quality Study suggests it can

A large Danish study into the effects of caffeine intake on sperm quality has found that drinking large amounts of cola (rather than other sources of caffeine such as tea or coffee) has a negative effect on sperm quality.

Over 2,500 recruits into the Danish military took part in the study. The researchers analysed the lifestyles of the participants as well as their medical histories and the physical condition of their "equipment".

The study was looking at a possible link between caffeine consumption and sperm quality, as there have been previous studies that suggested such a link might exist.

The social background of the participants was recorded, along with detailed information about their consumption of food, alcohol, soft drinks, tea, coffee and other beverages. From this the men's daily caffeine intake was estimated.

A detailed analysis of the results was then undertaken. The researchers looked at various possible connections between caffeine intake and sperm quality, and discovered that in general there was no such connection except at the highest level of intake, which produced a very slight reduction in sperm quality. But volume of semen did reduce with increasing caffeine intake.

Then the scientists looked at the effect of cola consumption alone, and they found that this did have a "significant" effect on sperm quality in men who drank more than 14 bottles of cola per week (equivalent to 7 litres of cola per week).

Further analysis showed that this effect could not be due to the caffeine content of the cola, and therefore must be due to some other cause. This will either be some ingredient of the cola, or it will be simply that the men who drink the most cola tend to have the least healthy diets and lifestyles, as the study confirmed.

The study was reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

This article was published on Tue 6 April 2010



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