Omega-3 doesn't improve diabetic male reproductive system: Mouse study

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

Insulin replacement and omega-3 supplementation showed no impact on sperm count. ©iStock
Insulin replacement and omega-3 supplementation showed no impact on sperm count. ©iStock
Omega-3 supplementation does not appear to provide significant protection to the reproductive system of diabetic mice, according to Iranian researchers.

Diabetes has been said to impair the sufferer’s production of sperm, alter his serum testosterone level and seminal fluid volume, and affect sperm quality and motility.

Previous experiments have shown that omega-3 might be able to improve male reproductive function, and as such, researchers from the Kerman University of Medical Sciences conducted a study to assess the effects of omega-3 on sperm and testicular parameters in diabetic mice.

They divided 40 male mice into one control group and four diabetic groups: one diabetic group was orally administered saline, another fed omega-3, another received subcutaneous insulin injections, and the last was both fed omega-3 and subcutaneously injected with insulin; all treatments were administered daily.

After 35 days, the mice’s sperm count, motility, progression, and normal morphology were measured.

The researchers found that across the four diabetic groups, the differences in serum testosterone levels, sperm count and testicular parameters after the study were insignificant.

No profound effects

This study therefore stated that “neither insulin replacement nor omega-3 administration could significantly improve the outcome”​.

It added: "Short periods of diabetes could not significantly affect the male reproductive function”​, and “insulin replacement and / or omega-3 supplementation does not have any profound effects on male reproductive system”​.

"Although some non-significant changes were noted, the results were not encouraging."

It concluded that other environmental factors that affect testicular function, such as formaldehyde, X-ray irradiation, and busulfan administration, “as a model of spermatogenic dysfunction, might be utilised to understand (the) probable impact of omega-3 on damaged reproductive male organs”​.


Source: Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism

“Do Insulin Replacement and Omega3 Protect the Male Reproductive Function of the Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Mice?”

Authors: Atefe Yaghoubi, et al.

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