The role of obesity in male fertility


  • Meltem Mermer Nutrition Support Unit, Dışkapı Yıldırım Beyazıt Training and Research Hospital, Ankara
  • Yasemin Akdevelioğlu Faculty of Health Sciences, Nutrition and Dietetics Department, Gazi University, Ankara



Hypogonadism, Infertility, Male, Obesity, Sperm parameters


Obesity causes many health problems as well as having negative effects on fertility. There is a multifaceted relationship between obesity and male infertility. Male fertility is associated with sperm concentration, motility and morphology. Testosterone (total and free) and gonadotropin levels were low and estrogen levels were found to be high in obese men. The decrease in androgen levels varies based on the degree of obesity. High body mass index is inversely related to total sperm count, sperm concentration, sperm morphology and number of motile sperm. Leptin and ghrelin are hormones that influence body weight regulation and eating behaviors. Serum leptin level, which is high in obese infertile men, showed a significant positive correlation with abnormal sperm morphology, serum FSH, LH, prolactin level and showed a significant negative correlation with sperm concentration, sperm motility and serum testosterone level. Further research is needed on the effects of ghrelin levels on male infertility. The relationship between obesity and erectile dysfunction can be explained by decreased testosterone levels and elevation of some proinflammatory cytokine levels. Decreased physical activity due to obesity, long-term sitting increases testicular temperature and affects sperm production negatively. There is a multifaceted relationship between obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes and serum testosterone and SHBG. Diet and exercise showed improvement in testosterone levels and sperm concentration due to decreased body weight. However, studies on this subject are extremely limited. The possible effects of weight loss on successful infertility treatment of obese men should not be ignored.


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