Men hoping to become fathers are often advised to avoid alcohol for fear of harming their fertility.
But a study suggests a few small beers a week or bottle of wine may actually help men start a family.
Italian researchers who asked 323 men about their alcohol consumption found moderate drinkers had a better sperm count. This worked out as up to a bottle and small glass of wine a week, or seven small bottles of beer.
The findings of the study
- The study, led by the Fondazione Policlinico in Milan, suggests the antioxidants from grapes in wine, and a compound in beer hops called Xanthohumol, may slightly improve sperm by protecting cells from damage.
- Dr Elena Ricci, who led the research, said: ‘We found that men who consumed four to seven units per week had higher semen volume and total sperm count than those who drank less or more than that. We concluded that moderate alcohol intake appears positively associated to semen quality, in this group of men.
- ‘But the association between alcohol intake and male reproductive function is still controversial and several studies have shown that heavy drinking is linked to detrimental effects.’
- Alcohol units are calculated differently in Italy than the UK, with one unit representing 12.5 grams of alcohol instead of the eight grams we use.
- Researchers classed moderate drinkers as men who consumed four to seven units of alcohol a week, which ranges from two-thirds of a bottle of wine to a bottle and a single small glass.
- For beer drinkers, it works out as four to seven 330ml bottles of beer.
The results show that, compared to men drinking zero to three units of alcohol a week, the moderate drinkers had a higher overall sperm count. Their sperm was less concentrated, but they produced more semen, meaning a higher chance of getting their partner pregnant, according to the authors.
The Daily Mail