Gluten-Free Diet and Male Infertility

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Will your fertility be affected?

For those seeking to make a connection between a gluten free diet and male infertility, it is important to know that the underlying reason for which such a diet is chosen will likely have more of an effect upon one's fertility than the actual diet itself.

Connecting a Gluten Free Diet and Male Infertility

Conditions such as celiac disease can have a profound effect upon both male and female fertility. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition triggered by the ingestion of gluten containing foods. In response to this dietary gluten, a celiac's immune system is triggered to such an extent that the body attacks its own tissue in order to remove the offending gluten protein. Over time the digestive tract, particularly the small intestine, can be destroyed, but celiac disease can affect more than just one's intestinal lining. This immune reaction can even extend as far as the brain, causing debilitating neurological symptoms that may even be permanent.

Both the digestive and neurological effects of celiac disease can have an influence on male fertility. Since the digestive component of celiac disease sometimes leads to severe intestinal malabsorption, the consequential malnourished state of a celiac's system may take its toll on male sperm health and production. The link between celiac disease and female fertility is fairly clear, so there is reason to suspect that this link extends as far as the male reproductive system as well. Optimal reproductive health coincides with optimal nutritional health, hence persons with suspected celiac disease may be doing their system a great disadvantage by continuing their intake of dietary gluten. The gluten-free approach to the male infertility conundrum serves to, first, remove any underlying systemic stress caused by gluten which should, in turn, aid the body's natural healing mechanism. Theoretically, these efforts could have a positive effect upon any secondary fertility issues.

When Gluten Free Fails to Help

Clearly, a gluten free diet is the foundation for treating celiac disease and the complications that arise with such a health condition. However, there are certain instances when a gluten free diet can progress male infertility. The connection between a gluten free diet and male infertility has not fully been explored, but the link between soy ingestion and male infertility is fairly well established.

Many males starting out on the road to gluten free dieting are compelled to try more soy products, particularly if they are also seeking to eliminate dairy from their daily regimen. Numerous celiacs who have suffered, undiagnosed, for long periods of time find that their digestive intolerances extend past gluten and even into the realm of corn and dairy. The most well-known replacement for dairy products is soy, and so it is no wonder many celiacs seek to bolster their new diets with soybean-derived products.

Unfortunately for males seeking to rectify their infertility problems, soy products contain phytoestrogens which mimic natural estrogen and fight certain hormones for receptor sites. By including large amounts of soy in their diet, many males increase their estrogen intake in manifold amounts, thus throwing off their hormonal balance and further exacerbating their infertility. also explores the role of genistein (an isoflavone) upon male infertility. Since genistein is largely found in soybeans, it is expected that males who consume a soy-heavy diet will also be ingesting triumphant amounts of this isoflavone. However, cultures, such as the Japanese, whose diets are largely dependent on soy proteins, still manage to reproduce victoriously without any adverse effects upon male fertility.

Still, this study contradicts much of the research the media has brought to light regarding findings that significant soy consumption can reduce male sperm counts by as much as half! An article posted on outlines details of the soy fertility conundrum.

Essentially, if you are a man suffering from celiac-related male infertility and are seeking to rectify this problem through diet, it is probably best to avoid any food substance that could possibly threaten your condition further. Undertaking a gluten free lifestyle is essential to your overall health, but there are many other testosterone-promoting sources of protein such as beef, eggs, chicken and fish that can be ingested instead of soy.

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Gluten-Free Diet and Male Infertility