Is olive oil good for male fertility?

By (gynaecologist), (embryologist), (embryologist) and (psychologist).
Last Update: 11/11/2022

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the basic pillars of the Mediterranean diet and is known for its health benefits. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, among others, have been attributed to this oil. However, these benefits of olive oil could also have an impact on male fertility.

Olive oil is rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. However, it also contains other components such as phenolic compounds and tocopherols (vitamin E).

The proportion of these components can vary between different types of olive oil, which is important because these molecules also contribute to the health effects of this type of oil.

Olive oil and male fertility

Due to its composition, extra virgin olive oil can be a natural ally for male reproductive function. In addition, the anti-inflammatory effect of olive oil on the reproductive organs may also be beneficial for fertility.

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Oleic acid

One of the positive effects that olive oil can have on male fertility is its oleic acid content.

Replacing saturated fatty acids with monounsaturated (such as oleic acid) or polyunsaturated fatty acids can reduce total and LDL (the so-called"bad cholesterol") cholesterol levels.

This is important for male fertility, as elevated total cholesterol levels may affect the seminal volume and sperm vitality.

Vitamin E

In addition, olive oil contains tocopherols, i.e. vitamin E. This vitamin is a potent antioxidant that has been linked to male fertility.

Spermatozoa are cells that can be damaged by oxidative stress. Sperm membranes are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are susceptible to oxidation. Therefore, oxidative stress could affect sperm membranes and sperm DNA integrity, altering their function.

However, vitamin E, due to its antioxidant properties, could protect spermatozoa from these effects.

In fact, this vitamin E has been linked to sperm motility. In addition, vitamin E has been associated in men with the production of testosterone, the male sex hormone par excellence.

Mediterranean diet and male fertility

The Mediterranean diet is characterized by the consumption of fruits, nuts, legumes, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, and, of course, the use of olive oil.

This is why, despite the above, we cannot forget that olive oil is usually consumed in the context of a Mediterranean diet. In general, a Mediterranean diet and a healthy eating style would be associated with better sperm quality.

FAQs from users

Does olive oil improve semen values?

By Jordana Carina Mata M.D. (gynaecologist).

Olive oil is an oil that contains a fatty acid from the omega-9 family, which helps to reduce LDL cholesterol and supports the body's functions in general, including proper sperm production.

What type of olive oil is best for male fertility?

By Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

Extra virgin olive oil is the one that is generally associated with the beneficial effects attributed to this type of oil.

However, the proportion of the different components of extra virgin olive oil is not always the same. The composition may vary depending on factors such as the degree of ripeness of the olive, the climate of the growing area or the type of oil extraction processes.

Can eating habits affect a man's sperm count?

By Zaira Salvador B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

Absolutely yes. Diet and eating habits are key factors when it comes to determining sperm quality in males.

A number of studies have demonstrated that what you eat on a daily basis, especially if it contains high amounts of carbohydrates and saturated fats, can diminish the sperm count, causing oligozoospermia.

Can olive oil help with poor sperm quality?

By Zaira Salvador B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat that is rich in oleic acid. If taken in great amounts, it helps destroy and eliminate the presence of "bad" cholesterol (LDL) in blood flow, which can help reduce the risk of having a cardiovascular and/or brain disease.

In relation to reproductive health, regular use of olive oil (especially virgin olive oil) along with the elimination of LDL cholesterol boost the arrival of oxygen to the testes. In other words, spermatogenesis will occur in optimum conditions.

In this article, we have discussed oxidative stress and antioxidants. For more information on antioxidants and semen quality, please visit the following link: What are antioxidants and how do they affect semen quality?

On the other hand, if you are interested in improving sperm quality and want to read some recommendations, don't forget to read this article: Is it possible to improve sperm quality - Recommendations

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FAQs from users: 'Does olive oil improve semen values?', 'What type of olive oil is best for male fertility?', 'Can eating habits affect a man's sperm count?' and 'Can olive oil help with poor sperm quality?'.

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Authors and contributors

 Jordana Carina Mata
Jordana Carina Mata
Carina Mata graduated in Medicine and Surgery from the Catholic University of Cordoba in Argentina. She has more than 10 years of experience in personalised care of fertility patients (including consultations, reproductive techniques and minimally invasive surgery). She focuses on scientific quality as well as empathy. More information about Jordana Carina Mata
 Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Graduate in Health Biology from the University of Alcalá and specialized in Clinical Genetics from the same university. Master in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Valencia in collaboration with IVI clinics. More information about Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
License: 3435-CV
 Zaira Salvador
Zaira Salvador
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Technical University of Valencia (UPV). Biotechnology Degree from the National University of Ireland en Galway (NUIG) and embryologist specializing in Assisted Reproduction, with a Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV) and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI) More information about Zaira Salvador
License: 3185-CV
Adapted into english by:
 Cristina  Algarra Goosman
Cristina Algarra Goosman
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Graduated in Psychology by the University of Valencia (UV) and specialized in Clinical Psychology by the European University Center and specific training in Infertility: Legal, Medical and Psychosocial Aspects by University of Valencia (UV) and ADEIT.
More information about Cristina Algarra Goosman
Member number: CV16874

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