• We have updated the guidelines regarding posting political content: please see the stickied thread on Website Issues.

Male Fertility: Research; Enhancement; Claims; Etc.


Gone But Not Forgotten
Aug 7, 2001
Bowl of tomato soup a day 'boosts fertility'
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 28/07/2007

A bowl of tomato soup every day can help boost fertility among men, scientists claimed yesterday.

They have discovered that lycopene, which gives tomatoes their bright red colouring, can turn sperm into super-sperm.

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth studied the effect of lycopene in the diet on a random group of six healthy men, with an average age of 42. The men were asked to consume a 400g tin of Heinz cream of tomato soup every day for two weeks.

The researchers, from the university's biomedical science department, said that during the two weeks, levels of lycopene in the men's semen rose between seven and 12 per cent, which was "significant".

They added that further studies should be carried out to discover whether the same boost would be seen in infertile men.

The results, published in the British Journal of Urology, said that infertile men have lower levels of lycopene in their sperm. The study suggests that higher levels of lycopene are associated with increased fertility.

It is not known what part lycopene actually plays in fertility, although it has been suggested that the antioxidant may mop up harmful free radicals in the body which can affect fertility.

Tomato products have been thought for some time to have beneficial health properties because of their high concentration of lycopene, but this is the first time they have been shown to boost fertility.

Other fruits and vegetables that are high in lycopene include watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava, papaya and rosehip.

Lycopene has previously been identified as a potential aid in conditions ranging from exercise-induced asthma to prostate cancer. However, earlier this month, the US Food and Drug Administration said it has found almost no evidence that lycopene has any effect on cancer prevention.

A review, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, examined 81 studies of lycopene and concluded that none produced any credible evidence to support a relationship between consumption of the antioxidant and the risk of developing cancer.

About 2.6 million men in the United Kingdom have a low sperm count and doctors have suggested a healthier lifestyle can increase the chances of conceiving.

Nigel Dickie, a spokesman for Heinz said: "It's good to know that our tomato soup could give guys extra 'oomph'."


As it happens, I had Mediterranean style tomato soup for lunch...
Now, how do I test whether it has increased my fertility...?
On the other hand, this:

Heinz lands in the soup over sex claims

IT WAS a marketing man's dream: Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup was not only one of Britain's iconic food brands, it also improved men's fertility.

Heinz yesterday trumpeted university research which showed that eating its soup could "give guys extra oomph".

But the soup's rise from kitchen cupboard staple to must-buy superfood proved shortlived after The Scotsman contacted sceptical fertility experts and the company admitted it had overstated the research, which it had partly funded. :roll:

The case reveals the pressure food companies face to claim health benefits for their products as they try to cash in on the superfood phenomenon, and raises questions over use of research they commission.

Heinz's claims were based on a study involving six healthy male volunteers who were asked to consume a can of Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup every day for two weeks.

Carried out by the University of Portsmouth, the study found that a fortnight of soup-slurping had some effect on semen.

Seminal levels of lycopene, the component of tomatoes which makes them red, increased by between seven and 12 per cent.

Lycopene has antioxidant properties which can help protect DNA, mopping up harmful chemicals in the body called free radicals which can play a part in infertility.

It is also known that infertile men have lower levels of lycopene in their sperm, leading to suspicions that dietary changes could help them become fathers.

The result, the company suggested, was the creation of "super sperm" with the potential to boost fertility.

Nigel Dickie, a spokesman for Heinz, said: "It's good to know that Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup could boost your mojo and give guys extra oomph. And for Heinz Ketchup lovers, the tomatoey goodness will put more ketchup in your bottle."

But in fact, the Portsmouth study found that while lycopene levels rose in semen after a period of soup consumption, there was "no measurable increase" in the sperm's ability to combat damaging free radicals.

The scientists said more research was needed to see if higher lycopene levels really would help boost fertility.

Allan Pacey, secretary of the British Fertility Society, said although the study found higher lycopene levels in the sperm, it did not find any improvement in its quality to tackle infertility.

"I am convinced that diet does have an effect on fertility," he said. "Studies have shown that a healthy diet can help with conception. But I am not convinced that eating tomato soup every day for two weeks, on the basis of this data, is going to achieve that.

"I would much rather people ate fruit and vegetables and a sensible, healthy diet over the long-term."

Dr Pacey, a senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield, said sperm was produced by the body over three months, so long-term changes to diet would be most effective at improving its quality, rather than a two-week alteration.

A University of Portsmouth spokesman said its scientists were "excited" by the results of the study, published in the British Journal of Urology. But he added: "While the study has demonstrated an increase in the levels of lycopene in sperm, that is only a pointer to bigger studies to find out what impact that might have on fertility. We are now in talks with Heinz to conduct a bigger study.

"But on the basis of this research alone, we cannot say that the lycopene levels in sperm boosted fertility."

Later, a slightly more restrained Mr Dickie admitted: "There is more work to be done."

Mark Borkowski, a marketing expert, said companies could be naive in presenting research involving their products, and risked damaging their brands' reputation.

"Companies have to know the difference between PR and advertising," he said.

"Tomato soup is loved by people; they find it a comforting idea. You do not want to risk that kind of reputation by making statements which could turn out to be wrong."

The Sassanaigh will not be happy at this news.

Sperm Quality Higher In Men Who Wear Kilts
20 Apr 2013

Men, want to increase your chances of becoming a dad? Then wearing a kilt, without underwear, could do it for you. At least that is the recommendation of a researcher, who writing in the current issue of the Scottish Medical Journal, says although yet to be proven in a scientific trial, judging from the anecdotal literature he reviewed, it is likely that sperm quality is higher in men who wear Scottish kilts (without underwear) compared with men whose reproductive organs are probably kept too warm for healthy sperm production by being tucked away in tight trousers and underpants.

The last few decades have seen a global decline in human sperm counts.

Additionally, there has been a remarkable decline in fertility rates in the industrialized world, to which poor semen quality among men could be an important contributor.

Studies investigating the decline in semen quality have suggested a number of reasons, from living near places with high air pollution, to changes in lifestyle and rising levels of obesity.

There are those who believe men who wear Scottish kilts have better sperm quality and fertility. The idea seems plausible because in many mammal species, including humans, healthy sperm production requires the temperature of the scrotum to be 3 deg C lower than the body temperature, so perhaps men who wear clothing that keeps that area too warm, may inadvertently be reducing their sperm quality.

This latest review, by Erwin Kompanje of the Department of Intensive Care at Erasmus MC University Medical Centre in Rotterdam in The Netherlands, appears to suggest a way to redress the worldwide decline in human sperm quality.

The Scottish kilt is a male garment that at first glance looks like a knee-length, pleated skirt. It is the national garment for Scotland, where it is worn typically for weddings and other special occasions. There are also moves to introduce the kilt as casual wear, even outside Scotland.

Kompanje notes that according to a recent survey, the vast majority of Scotsmen (about 70%) still choose to wear nothing under their kilts. This is known as the "regimental style".

For his study, Kompanje reviewed all the literature he could find via Medline and the Cochrane Library that looked at scrotal temperature, ability to produce sperm and fertility.

He did not find any evaluations of "therapeutic kilt wearing in relation to sperm quality", and reports he is not aware of any randomized controlled trials exploring the health benefits of kilt wearing, but he does note there are some old anecdotal papers on the pros and cons of kilt wearing.

He did however, find some research reports on the effect of underwear wearing. For example, research done in the 1990s proposed that wearing tight underpants tended to increase the temperature deep inside the scrotum; on average, wearing tight underpants appears to raise the temperature around the testicles by 3.5 deg C.

He also writes that:

"Wearing a kilt has strong psychological bene?ts. A kilt will get you noticed no matter where you are. Research indicates that men wearing a kilt experience a strong sense of freedom and masculinity and that many women are attracted to men in kilts."

From his review, Kompanje concludes that kilt wearing, particularly in the "regimental style" (that is without underwear) likely offers the ideal physical environment for the scrotum, helping to maintain the ideal temperature for the testicles to be able to produce good quality sperm.

He says while further research is needed to confirm this, in the meantime:

"Because the kilt is a purely masculine garment, men need not be ashamed of or reticent about the therapeutic wearing of a kilt for a certain period of time to possibly improve sperm quantity and quality."

"How grand the human race would be
If every man would wear a kilt,
A flirt of Tartan finery,
Instead of trousers, custom built!"

From "A Song for Kilts" by Robert William Service

Written by Catharine Paddock PhD

" 'Real men wear kilts'.. The anecdotal evidence that wearing a Scottish kilt has influence on reproductive potential: how much is true?"; EJO Kompanje; Scottish Medical Journal February 2013 vol. 58 no. 1 e1-e5; DOI: 10.1177/0036933012474600; Link to Abstract.
Of course, correlation is not causation...

...I mean, it might not be the kilt-wearing that improves sperm quality. It might be the regular consumption of Scotch whisky or a diet high in fat... :)
anecdotal literature he reviewed....in other words the story is a load of...or maybe its irn bru that gets the credit?
It is true that tight trousers cause (temporary) infertility but if you wear a kilt in an English nightclub you aint gonna pull in the first place.
Don't know why I got this invite! Targeted marketing doesn't always work I guess.

The Irish Times has partnered with SIMS IVF to host a free educational event on Wednesday, January 25th at 6.30pm.

Join Irish Times columnist Jen Hogan alongside an expert panel at Iveagh Garden Hotel where they will discuss the psychological effects of embarking on your fertility journey, when to consider fertility testing, miscarriages, sex, relationship pressures and offer insight into what you should know before you start fertility treatment.

Delicious drinks and canapés will be served and all attendees will receive a goody bag that includes a half-price voucher for an initial consultation at SIMS IVF. All guests will be entered to win a Fertility Testing package worth €315.

Register now to submit your questions confidentially and join us on Wednesday, January 25th.

We hope to see you at Focus on Fertility!