An Unexpected Connection To Male Infertility
Research continues to uncover the root causes of male infertility. In some cases, infertility is due to conditions like varicocele and hypogonadism. But close to 40% of male factor infertility remains unexplained. Of the 20% of infertile men, some show a relation between celiac disease and infertility.
When gluten harms more than helps
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where the body shows a dangerous intolerance to gluten. When affected people eat food with gluten, the immune system attacks both the gluten and small intestine. The small intestines become damaged and potentially destroyed, causing health problems. Celiac disease can lead to diseases like coronary artery disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), and even infertility. The disease affects 1% of Americans with more than 2.5 million undiagnosed.
Small intestines, big impact
The small intestine is not only responsible for digestion. Over 90% of the absorption of nutrients and minerals from food occurs in this organ. Celiac disease destroys the intestinal villi responsible for taking nutrients into the bloodstream. So there could be a relationship between male infertility and the condition. Sperm production needs minerals like zinc, folic acid, and vitamins D and E. Without the ability to absorb key vitamins, males may experience infertility issues.
The statistical connection
There is deep research on the impact of celiac disease and infertility in women. Yet few have made the connection between the disease and men. However, men and women need similar nutrients for reproductive health. Some recent studies have revealed men with celiac disease have a 20% infertility rate.
Eating for conception
Celiac disease has no known cure. The only treatment for the disease is a complete diet overhaul. Men must remove foods containing gluten like wheat, barley, and rye. With a gluten-free diet, men have noticed an improvement in sperm quality and motility.
Taking celiac disease seriously
For those suffering from unexplained infertility, getting tested for celiac disease doesn’t hurt. Especially when combined with other symptoms like nausea, constipation, and unexpected weight loss, celiac disease may be the explanation. There is still space for more research on the subject, but existing research shows a link between the condition and infertility. Proper testing may be the answer for some couples struggling to conceive.