Arsenic and Male Infertility

Arsenic and Male Infertility
Arsenic is turning out to be a hidden dietary factor which can negatively influence male fertility and high levels of arsenic exposure are not uncommon.

Arsenic exposure can be especially heightened in men who consume diets largely composed of rice. Rice tends to accumulate arsenic from the water it is grown in, and unfortunately, some rice-growing areas are especially rich in naturally occurring arsenic.

For this reason rice grown in some parts of the world tends to be more prone to high arsenic levels, similarly, drinking water tends to be higher in arsenic in different areas.

Animal studies have shown that arsenic exposure can disrupt steroid hormone production in a way that may lead to infertility, and subsequently, a 2012 study (1) sought to evaluate whether arsenic can similarly influence male hormones and fertility.

Urinary arsenic levels were measured in a group reproductive aged men recruited from an infertility clinic and results were evaluated alongside sperm quality. The study concluded that as urinary concentrations of various forms of arsenic increase, the likelihood of poor sperm counts also elevates.

A more recent 2016 study (2) evaluated levels of various arsenic compounds in men with and without infertility and discovered that the incidence of elevated levels of arsenic compounds was far more common in men diagnosed with infertility.

"These findings provide evidences that low-level environmental arsenic exposure was positively associated with UMI (unexplained male infertility) risk."

Rice is one of the key dietary sources of arsenic and men who suffer with infertility it may want to take steps to minimize arsenic exposure. Two key ways to do this are to either switching out rice for other forms of carbs Or to learn how to prepare rice using methods designed to reduce arsenic.

Boiling rice in an excessive quantity of water and rinsing cooked rice before serving has been shown to be effective. Choosing the type of rice that you buy carefully can also cut exposure levels.

Some shellfish can also be rich in arsenic, and avoiding high-arsenic foods may be helpful.

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(1) Environ Health. 2012 Jul 9;11:46. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-11-46.
Environmental exposure to arsenic may reduce human semen quality: associations derived from a Chinese cross-sectional study. Xu W1, Bao H, Liu F, Liu L, Zhu YG, She J, Dong S, Cai M, Li L, Li C, Shen H.

(2) Sci Total Environ. 2016 Nov 15;571:307-13. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.07.169. Epub 2016 Jul 30. Low-level environmental arsenic exposure correlates with unexplained male infertility risk.
Wang X1, Zhang J2, Xu W2, Huang Q2, Liu L2, Tian M2, Xia Y3, Zhang W4, Shen H5.

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