Friday, November 01, 2013

The secret to healthy sperm? CARROTS: Study finds they boost performance more than any other fruit or veg

No info about where the research was published or the names of the authors so this is difficult to critique.  There is however on average a 2/3rds chance of it not being replicable

Carrots have long been said to be good for your vision. Now, it has emerged, they can also improve the fertility of men.

Researchers investigating the effect of fruit and vegetables on the health of sperm discovered that carrots produced the best all-round results.

They had the greatest effect on ‘motility’ – a term used to describe the ability of sperm to swim towards an egg.

Researchers at Harvard University in the US asked almost 200 young men to follow diets containing a variety of fruit and veg before testing to see what effect it had on sperm.

Yellow and orange foods were found to help make the sperm stronger.

The boost was attributed to pigments called carotenoids because the body converts some of these into health-boosting antioxidants.

These include beta-carotene, which the body can make into the antioxidant vitamin A.

Antioxidants help to neutralise free radicals, destructive groups of atoms that are a by-product of metabolism and can damage cell membranes and DNA.

Sweet potato and melon can enhance the quantity and quality of sperm, but carrots were found to improve sperm performance by between 6.5 and 8 per cent, according to a report in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

Red fruit and veg, particularly tomatoes, which contain the anti-cancer chemical lycopene, were associated with fewer abnormally shaped sperm.

They contributed to between 8 and 10 per cent more ‘normal’ sperm, said the research, which could make a significant difference for couples having problems conceiving.

The report said: ‘In a population of healthy young men, carotenoid intake was associated with higher sperm motility and, in the case of lycopene, better sperm morphology.

‘Our data suggest that dietary carotenoids may have a positive impact on semen quality.’

It comes amid reports that the quantity and quality of male sperm is declining in Western countries, with some studies showing that average sperm counts have fallen by over half.

A previous study from Harvard showed that men eating diets containing most saturated fat had the lowest sperm counts and poorer quality sperm.

However, men who ate more ‘good’ fats – including omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and some plants – had better quality sperm than those eating less.

Carrots have long been prized for their proven ability to help maintain eye health.

They are a prime source of vitamin A, which the retina of the eye needs to function. The vitamin’s antioxidant properties may help prevent cataracts and a deficiency causes night blindness.


LEFT-handed people are more likely to develop mental health problems such as schizophrenia

Complicated findings -- but Left-handedness does seem to be a developmental disorder so anything is possible

Left-handed people are more likely to develop psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, than mood disorders such as depression, research suggests.

A new study found that among people with mental illnesses, left-handed people are more likely to suffer from psychotic disorders than illnesses such as depression.

The researchers found that 11 per cent of people diagnosed with mood disorders are left-handed, compared to 40 per cent of those with schizophrenia.

The proportion of people with mood disorders who are left-handed - 11 per cent - is similar to the proportion of people in the whole population who are left-handed.

The study authors, who published their findings in the journal SAGE Open, wrote: ‘Our results show a strikingly higher prevalence of left-handedness among patients presenting with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, compared to patients presenting for mood symptoms such as depression or bipolar disorder.’

The researchers examined 107 patients at a public psychiatric clinic in an urban, low-income community to establish how many were left-handed.

They found that left-handedness was far more prevalent in people with schizophrenia than in people with depression.

‘Our own data showed that whites with psychotic illness were more likely to be left-handed than black patients,’ the authors wrote.

‘Even after controlling for this, however, a large difference between psychotic and mood disorder patients remained.’

Previous research has suggested that left-handed women are also more likely to get breast cancer.

Dutch researchers found that left-handed women are more than twice as likely to develop pre-menopausal breast cancer as right-handed women.

The team from University Medical Centre Utrecht believe the cause may lie in exposure to high levels of sex hormones in the womb - this can induce left-handedness and may also cause changes in breast tissue.

Other previous research has implied that left-handed people are more prone to dyslexia and also anxiety.


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