Male Infertility is a condition in men where they are unable to reproduce. The male reproductive cell or gamete is called sperm and the fluid that nourishes it and transports it is called semen. There can be various reasons that result in infertility in men.
The count of sperms in semen may be low (oligospermia) or there might be no semen at all (aspermia), sperms might be malnutritioned or deformed (teratospermia) or there might be decreased motility of sperm (asthenozoospermia).
Recent studies show that bad lifestyle can contribute to infertility in males like smoking, drinking, drugs or even obesity. However, there might be other medical reasons behind male infertility which include hormonal imbalances.
The GnRH (Gonadotropin releasing hormone) secreted by the hypothalamus targets the pituitary gland and causes the release of testosterone and other reproductive hormones.
In case there is a deficiency in GnRH, there will be reduced concentrations of testosterone. Defective sperm might be produced by low testosterone levels which then contributes to infertility.
The above mentioned condition is called hypogonadism which may be present since birth or might develop later in life due to other factors such as brain tumors or other such diseases related to the brain.
The argan tree (Arganiaspinosa (L.) Skeels; Sapotaceae) is found in southwest Morocco which has been declared a biosphere reserve by the UNESCO. The natives of Morocco have expertise in argan oil extraction from the tree. The oil is now exported from Morocco to different nooks and corners of the world.
Argan oil has various components of valuable pharmacological properties and this has shot argan oil into limelight. This article explains how argan oil can aid in improving the levels of testosterone whose imbalance can cause male infertility.
What happened in the study?
This study was conducted to see if argan oil as well as extra virgin olive oil could help in increasing the testosterone levels in males. Like any experiment there was a test setup and the results were compared with the control experiment (one of the factors of test experiment are missing). The results of these two setups are always compared.
The test experiment in this research involved usage of Virgin Argan oil while in the control experiment extra virgin olive oil was used. The aim was to find out the effect of these two kinds of oils on the hormonal profile of androgens (male hormones).
For this, sixty young healthy men from Morocco aged from twenty three to forty years were included in the test.
The research mentioned in this article is an interventional study. In any interventional study, the participants undergo some kind of interference in order to evaluate the impact of the administered pharmaceutical compound. The intervention in this study was in the form of a controlled diet.
First baseline conditions were established where all the participants were asked to consume butter for two weeks. Subsequently, all the sixty participants were randomly divided into two groups. The two groups were observed for a period of 3 weeks.
The test group members were asked to consume virgin argan oil while the controlled group members were given extra virgin olive oil.
Different hormones that were tested for, include testosterone, DHEA and luteinizing hormone. Serum was examined from the different subjects before and after administration of virgin argan oil and extra virgin olive oil.
What were the results of the study?
After the three week period, results showed that testosterone levels increased by 19.9% and 17.4 % in virgin argan oil and extra virgin olive oil test groups respectively. Luteinizing hormone levels incremented by 18.5% and 42.6% respectively for virgin argan oil and extra virgin olive oil groups. This is a clear indication of improvement of androgen hormonal profile in men due to consumption of virgin argan oil and extra virgin olive oil.
However, there was no change in dehydroepiandrosterone content in serum, BMI, body weight and blood pressure due to the diet controlled intervention.
How does Argan oil benefit in Male Infertility?
This research has proven that testosterone and luteinizing hormone levels increased by the consumption of virgin argan oil and extra virgin olive oil. The reason behind this is the composition of the oils.
These oils are rich in healthy fats namely monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and has comparatively lesser Saturated fatty acids (SFAs).
Saturated fatty acids have single bonds in their structure which is difficult to break down and needs high amount of energy while the latter has multiple bonds and can be easily broken down. Thus, it is easier to metabolise the unsaturated fatty acids and hence, they are referred to as healthy fats.
Olive oil accounts for 73% of monounsaturated fatty acids and just 14% of saturated fatty acids. The rest of it comprises polyunsaturated fatty acids.
It also contains antioxidants and oleuropein which is a glycoside that increases testosterone concentrations.
Similarly argan oil is reach in mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants.
All these constituents promote protein anabolism (creation) and prevent protein catabolism (breakdown) pertaining to hormonal regulation by stimulating steroidal hormones and this involves noradrenaline. This in turn promotes testosterone levels which explains the rise in levels of the hormone in the experiment.
What does this mean?
The results of this experiment tells us that consumption of virgin argan oil and extra virgin olive oil is highly beneficial. The chemical composition of the virgin argan oil and extra virgin olive oil make these two valuable when it comes to health.
The mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants and oleuropein concentrations aid to the betterment of testosterone levels in healthy male subjects as exhibited in this research.
Thus, consumption of the virgin argan oil and extra virgin olive oil pose a better reproductive health in males. It thereby, also offers a promising protection from risks of infertility in males in future.
In other words, replacing unhealthy fats in diet with virgin argan oil and extra virgin olive oil is highly recommended.
Read the research paper here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23472458