A new study has found that moderate drinking can actually be great for male fertility.
For those whose husbands like having a glass of wine or a beer with dinner, there’s good news! It turns out that a moderate amount of alcohol in a man’s diet can actually be beneficial for their fertility, according to a new Italian study published in the journal Andrology.
The new study was conducted by Dr. Elena Ricci of the Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, a fertility clinic located in Italy. Researchers looked at 323 male patients and asked them how often they drank. Light drinkers had between one to three 330ml beers or 125ml glasses of wine per week, while moderate drinkers had between 4-7 beers or glasses of wine. Heavy alcohol consumers had 8 or more drinks per week.
About 30% of participants were light drinkers, 30% were moderate drinkers, and 30% were heavy drinkers. A total of 10% of participants didn’t drink at all.
Controlling for other variables such as exercise, smoking, and BMI, the Italian researchers found that those who drank moderately had higher semen volume, total sperm count, and sperm concentration when compared to light drinkers or those who didn’t drink at all.
This is great news for anyone looking to start a family but doesn’t want to give up their reasonable drinking habits. In fact, this study even encourages those who don’t drink to have a glass or two to increase their odds at conception.
However, heavy drinkers still had less semen volume and lower quality sperm when compared to either light, medium, or non-drinkers. This confirms previous studies that found alcohol can have a detrimental effect on fertility when consumed to excess.
"Since the dose makes the poison, they are counseled to limit but not avoid alcohol,” said Dr. Ricci.
Conventional wisdom dictates that while alcohol can help provide the opportunities for conception, it’s not doing anyone any favors in terms of actually getting pregnant. With this study, we now know that enough to give someone a slight buzz is actually beneficial not just in terms of getting in the mood, but also in terms of helping them conceive.
So, those wanting to be dads, break out that bottle of rosé and have a glass with dinner. Just don’t drink the whole bottle all at once.