Eating tomatoes may help increase male fertility, according to a new study. The researchers say that the compound called ‘lycopene’ found in tomatoes might raise your chances of conceiving a baby.
For men who have fertility issues, but also for their partners, of course, eating tomatoes might be the hope that they need right now, says a new study conducted by the University of Sheffield. Lycopene, the compound that is also responsible for the bright red color of tomatoes, is the one that has positive effects on sperm count, motility, and health. Yeah, you read that right, lycopene helps with the number, the size, the quality and the speed of the sperm. The researchers say that this discovery might reduce the need for invasive fertility treatments by a whopping 40 percent.
How does eating tomatoes help?
The scientists had found 60 healthy volunteers, with ages between 19 and 30 years old that participated in this study. For 12 weeks, 30 of these took a LactoLycopene tablet that contained 14 mg of lycopene. The other 30 participants received placebo pills. The sperm samples were analyzed all through the 12 weeks. After the study ended, the people who had taken the tablet had a 40 percent improvement on their sperm quality.
“We didn’t really expect that at the end of the study there would be any difference in the sperm from men who took the tablet versus those who took the placebo,” says Professor Allan Pacey, lead author and head of the University of Sheffield’s department of oncology and metabolism.
“When we decoded the results, I nearly fell off my chair. The improvement in morphology – the size and shape of the sperm – was dramatic,” he added.
“The findings could mean that consumption of this tomato extract compound might have a beneficial effect in men with infertility because of poor sperm motility and/or morphology,” said Professor Richard Sharpe, MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh. He called the finding a “small ray of sunshine”.
Eating tomatoes helps thanks to the antioxidants that act as a shield for the cells. The team will also test this discovery on men who have fertility issues related to the number, size or speed of the sperm cells.