Soy-Based Foods Might Be Reducing Sperm Count

Western men consuming more of cheap protein; effect worst on those with low count
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2008 12:13 PM CDT
A farmer loads a truck with soybean in Ferre, some 270 kms (167 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Monday, April 7, 2008.    (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
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(Newser) – Soy-based foods could be the root of lower sperm counts in men, a new study finds. Men who consumed more than two portions of soy-based foods a week had, on average, 41 million fewer sperm per milliliter of semen than men who avoided such products. The cheap source of protein has become more prevalent in Western diets in recent years, the Guardian notes.

A normal sperm count falls between 80 million and 120 million per milliliter; scientists say a drop in fertility in the West has roughly paralleled the soy increase. "The take-home message could be that if you've got an already low sperm count … soy foods are probably not a good idea for you," one researcher said.