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Lack Of Omega-3 Fatty Acid DHA Renders Male Mice Infertile

April 12, 2010: 07:42 AM EST
U.S. scientists experimenting with genetically altered male mice that could not produce the omega-3 fatty acid DHA were infertile. Omega-3s have been found in recent studies to benefit cardiovascular health, but this is the first study directly linking DHA to male fertility. Without DHA, the mice produced only a few sperm, and these were misshapen (round instead of long) and basically immobile, according to researchers. When they re-introduced DHA into the mouse diets, however, fertility was completely restored. The DHA study involved the creation of a mouse model with certain genes “knocked out” to help understand the physiological role of various fats. The body makes DHA from dietary alpha-linolenic acids, derived mainly from vegetable oils such as soybean and canola.
Manuel Roqueta-Rivera, Chad K. Stroud, Wanda M. Haschek, Sandeep J.Akare, Mariangela Segre, Richard S. Brush, Martin-Paul Agbaga, Robert E.Anderson, Rex A. Hess and Manabu T. Nakamura, "Docosahexaenoic acid supplementation fully restores fertility and spermatogenesis in male delta-6 desaturase-null mice", The Journal of Lipid Research, April 12, 2010, © American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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