When it comes to improving your health, fish oil has had a checkered history. Since the 1990s, research has made it an on again/off again health-improving supplement (read all about the back and forth here). And now, there’s a study of more than 1,600 young men (who averaged just under 19 years of age) published in JAMA Network Open by scientists from Harvard, the University of Copenhagen, and the University of Southern Denmark that found that those who took fish oil supplements had higher semen volume and total sperm count as well as larger testicular size.
This suggests better testicular function among the fish-oil-taking guys, which is a good thing, as some scientists hold that men’s semen quality has been tanking in the past 50 to 70 years. And according to data cited by this study, about 40 to 50 percent of fertility issues are due to male factors. Even if you’re not concerned about fertility right now, sperm health can be an indicator of your overall health, so it’s worth paying attention to (see more about that here).
So this is promising. Taking fish oil is an easy and popular thing to do. And we like easy and healthy things to do. But this is definitely not the last word on all of this. First of all, it’s a recall study—so the guys weren’t put on fish oil; they just had to say whether they took it regularly for the past 60 days, so there’s no guarantee they remembered right. And second, the number of guys who actually took these supplements was pretty low.
So here’s the thing: If you take fish oil supplements already, then you may be getting this great benefit. If not, it’s hard to say whether this is enough evidence to suggest you jump on them. One step, if you want to try to reap the healthy benefits of fish oil, is to start eating more actual fish (some research has found this to boost sperm count as well). It’s easier—and tastier—than you think. Let us show you how to buy fish, and the easiest way to cook salmon.
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