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Fried, baked starchy foods may kill sperm

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By david liu PHD

Friday July 27, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Eating too much fried and baked starchy foods may make a healthy man infertile or lower his fertility, an animal study in the May 2012 issue of Toxicology International suggests. The study also hints that vitamin E may help improve the condition, but can't completely cancel the damaging effect of acrylamide on sperm count and sperm quality.

The study showed that male rats receiving 20 mg of acrylamide/kg body weight per day for 28 days had their sperm count decreased and dead sperm count increased at day 28th of experiment. The same things happened to rats receiving both acrylamide and vitamin E.  But with vitamin E, the chemical does not seem to cause as much damage.

S. Rahangadale of Maharashtra Animal and Fishery Sciences University in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India and colleagues divided male rats in six groups with 6 animals in each group.  They compared three groups (fed placebo, alcrylamide, acrylamide plus vitamin E) at day 28. Another three group that received the same treatments (fed placebo, acrylamide, acrylamide plus vitamin E) for 28 days were monitored for another 13 days to see how acrylamide and vitamin E affect sperm count and sperm quality.

Rats exposed to acrylamide regardless of whether vitamin E was used  had their sperm count and sperm quality decreased, compared to the control rats.  Vitamin E was found to help rats fight against the damaging effect of acrylamide. But, the protective effect is very limited.

The researchers concluded "Vitamin E is not able to protect testes from acrylamide toxicity during active feeding, but after cessation of acrylamide feeding treatment with vitamin E revealed faster recovery as compare to not treated group."

Acrylamide is a known carcinogen.  This chemical is formed in starchy foods with proteins and amino acid.  The chemical is formed at high temperature in starchy foods such as potato chips and fries through the reaction between an amino acid called asparagine and glucose.

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