Two UK newspapers
have proclaimed the fertility-boosting benefits of the raspberry, with NHS
Choices branding the claims 'misleading'.
The Daily Mail's piece sets out to explain 'how eating raspberries
could increase your chances of being a father'. 'With sperm counts in the average British male falling by almost half in the
past 60 years', the article says, 'experts have claimed raspberries maybe the
saviour to help fathers-to-be'. The Daily
Express tells a similar story.
source appears to be a study of 80 healthy
male volunteers from 2012. The study, carried out by researchers from three US
universities and the University of Bradford in the UK, used questionnaires to
estimate each participant's average daily nutrient intake, and looked at the
relationship between these nutrient intake estimates and DNA damage in the
They found that levels of sperm DNA damage were
significantly related to overall antioxidant intake (including Vitamins C and
E, and beta-carotene), as well as with Vitamin C
alone, with those with a higher intake having less sperm DNA damage. This
relationship was seen only when a technique called alkaline DNA electrophoresis
was used for the analysis and not another method (neutral DNA electrophoresis).
researchers acknowledge that one of the study's limitations was that none of
the participants had fertility problems, so the findings may not be applicable to
such people. Also, the apparent relationship between the nutrients and sperm
DNA damage could in fact be mediated by a number of associated lifestyle
factors. For example, those with a healthier diet may exercise more which might
be the real reason behind the lower level of DNA damage.
despite the New York Daily News
article saying that 'the study showed men over 44 with the highest intake
of vitamin C had 20 percent less damage to their sperm DNA than men who did not
eat raspberries', there is no mention of
raspberries in the original study.
Daily Mail adds the comments of nutritionist Juliet
Wilson who labels raspberries as 'a
perfect snack for couples trying to conceive'.