20 January 2020

Alternative realities: another one bites the dust

RedHerring Research

Another myth bites the dust, and this one is bad news for wannabe dads struggling with fertility issues and for supplement spruikers.

The widely held belief that increasing a bloke’s dietary intake of folic acid and zinc could help improve the swimming ability of sperm has now been shown to be just that: a belief, not a fact.

These dietary supplements have for some time been marketed for male fertility issues but these claims have been based on limited prior evidence and no large-scale trials have examined the efficacy of this therapy for improving semen quality or live birth. Until now.

According to a study published in JAMA, researchers treated 2380 men seeking infertility treatment with either a dietary supplement or placebo daily to see if it had an effect on sperm quality.

After six months, they found no significant improvement in birth rates or sperm quality of the supplement group compared with the placebo arm.

And in tangentially related research (at least in our minds), we have the Royal Society Open Science to thank for the following edifying  findings.

After undertaking a “multivariate analysis of women’s mating strategies and sexual selection on men’s facial morphology”, it transpires that heterosexual women who are squeamish about ticks, public lice and other hair-borne pests find bearded men less attractive than their clean-shaven brethren.

While this is perhaps unsurprising, it does rather beg the question: Are there actually women out there who are ambivalent to the presence of itchy critters dwelling on their fellas’ phizogs?

We’d love to know!


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