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Aluminum can Lower Sperm Count, Study Finds

Update Date: Oct 23, 2014 09:30 AM EDT

Exposure to aluminum can lower men's sperm count, a small study reported. According to the researchers, the effects of the element can also lead to male infertility.

"A deterioration of human semen quality has been observed over recent decades. A possible explanation could be an increased exposure to environmental pollutants, including aluminum," the authors wrote. "Our aim was to measure the aluminum concentration in the semen of...patients and to carry out a preliminary evaluation on its impact on specific semen parameters."

For this study, the research team from Keele University in the United Kingdom and the universities of Lyon and St.-étienne in France examined 62 semen samples. They followed the guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and used the graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry method to calculate the aluminum concentration in the semen samples.

The researchers found evidence of aluminum in the sperm samples. The mean concentration level of alumuminin was 339 μg/L. As the concentration of aluminum increased, the sperm count decreased. For example, men with oliogzoospermia, which is a condition characterized by low sperm count, had aluminum concentration levels that were statistically higher than the other participants.

The researchers reasoned that aluminum might have a negative impact on sperm count and male fertility because it can disrupt the endocrine system.

"Human exposure to aluminum has increased significantly over the same time period and our observation of significant contamination of male semen by aluminum must implicate aluminum as a potential contributor to these changes in reproductive fertility," lead researcher of the study, Professor Christopher Exley, said according to TIME.

The study, "Aluminum content of human semen: Implications for semen quality," was published in the journal, Reproductive Toxicology.

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