Women who consume large amounts of beef while pregnant give birth to sons with low sperm count. Researchers believe that pesticides, hormones or contaminants in cattle feed may effect the future sperm count.
“In sons of ‘high beef consumers’ (more than seven beef meals a week), sperm concentration was 24.3 percent lower,” the researchers wrote in their report, published in the journal Human Reproduction.
The team at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York studied data on the partners of 387 pregnant women in five U.S. cities between 2000 and 2005, and on the mothers of the fathers-to-be.
Of the 51 men whose mothers remembered eating the most beef, 18 percent had sperm counts classified by the World Health Organization as sub-fertile.
“The average sperm concentration of the men in our study went down as their mothers’ beef intake went up. But this needs to be followed carefully before we can draw any conclusions,” said Shanna Swan, who led the team.
Researchers were surprised when they found this out, but there was a very strong association.
She admits the study is limited — this type of study, called a retrospective study, is not as powerful as a study that follows people in real-time.
But she believes that women can remember fairly accurately what they ate while pregnant.
“When you are pregnant you are very aware of what you eat — you are watching your weight and some things make you sick and you need to get enough of x and y so you focus on that,” she said.
The mothers of the men were asked only if they ate beef more than once a day or less — something Swan believes they could remember accurately.
Swan now wants to test young men living in the European Union, where hormones have been banned in beef since 1988.
There it is ladies!! It’s all about organics while you are pregnant!