The significant effects of dietary fatty acids on male fertility have been well documented. There are three types of natural fatty acids: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 are essential fatty acids, because they cannot be synthesized by the human body.
Both Omega-3 and Omega-6 are required for sperm production, as they are part of the sperm cell membrane, and are important for successful fertilization. In addition, Omega 3 and 6 play are important building blocks for anti-inflammatory molecules used by our body, and help maintain a healthy and balanced immune system.
Today, many foods common to the Western diet are deficient in omega-3 but abundant in omega-6 PUFAs, resulting in increased dietary omega-6/omega-3 ratio. The ideal ratio is 1:1, but during the past 100 years, omega-6 PUFAs of Western diets have increased dramatically, resulting in an omega-6/omega-3 ratio of 25:1 to 40:1. Increased omega-6/omega-3 ratio in sperm has been implicated in impaired semen quality (count, motility and morphology).
It was shown that fertile men have higher levels of Omega 3 levels in their blood in sperm. Thus, there is a need to increase consumption of Omega-3 to correct the ratio and regain impaired egg fertilization by sperm. Moreover, since Omega 3 is important for a balanced immune function, reduced levels are associated with an imbalanced immune function which is also associated with diminished fertility in males.