Coffee drinkers listen up
Coffee makes sperm go faster, reveals a new study by Brazilian scientists. They suggest caffeine could form the basis male infertility treatment for some men.
Fabio Pasqualotto and colleagues at the University of Sao Paulo tested sperm quality in 750 men who ranged from those who never drink the brew to coffee aficionados.
Sperm motility, sperm concentration and the levels of hormones were all the same for mild, moderate and heavy coffee drinkers. "However, sperm motility was higher in patients who drink coffee compared those who do not," says the team, which presented their work at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting in San Antonio, Texas, US.
But a second study presented at the same meeting on another widely used drug - marijuana - revealed a detrimental effect. It appears that marijuana effects on men not only reduces the sperm count and sperm volume produced by a man, it also causes sperm to speed up temporarily and then "burn-out".
This premature "burn-out" may mean a sperm is not active enough to fertilise an egg when it reaches it.
The Brazilian researchers assessed coffee-drinking and semen quality in men undergoing vasectomies from January 1999 to September 2002. Those who sipped between one and three cups of coffee a day were classed as mild drinkers, those who had between four and six cups as moderate, and those who had over six cups a day were classed as heavy drinkers.
No differences were seen in sperm concentration or the levels of hormones such as testosterone or follicle-stimulating hormone between any of the groups. Neither did the way the sperm moved, for example their linearity, vary between groups. However, sperm motility was significantly higher in coffee drinkers compared with those who abstain.
The team suggests that compounds with active components based on caffeine may be useful for treating some infertility in men.
Paul Ellis - Men's Health