Dietary PUFA Causes (reversible) Male Infertility And Androgen Deficiency


Mar 18, 2013
USA / Europe
An amazing study, which should serves as a causing to the nuts-and-seeds crowd precisely because it used exactly such a diet to produce these highly negative effects on male fertility. Come to think of it, it is common knowledge in many cultures around the world that seeds and seed extracts are often used as male contraceptives, yet for some reason this fact has somehow escaped the attention of the dietary industry in the Western world. However, it has not escaped the attention of urology/oncology where the effects of various seeds are well-known and in fact a number of companies are working on "safer" chemical castration drugs based on seeds that are to be used in "treatment" of prostate cancer. The study below demonstrates that the addition of a certain level of pumpkin seed to the diet can cause (reversible) infertility and severe androgen deficiency. Those highly detrimental changes were apparently reversible upon discontinuation of the pro-castration diet, but I am not at all convinced about the safety of those seeds given the cytotoxic effects in gonads and inhibition of steroidogenic enzymes they caused. The dietary levels of pumpkin seeds (which contain mostly PUFA) used in the current study correspond to about 0.5%-2% dietary PUFA daily, which is easily achieved by most people on a Western diet as it contains a significant amount of plant oils. I don't even want to think about how much extra PUFA on top of that the nuts-and-seeds crowd ingests on a daily basis. In light of these effects of dietary PUFA the current epidemic of infertility in young couples is hardly surprising. The authors of the study themselves say that pumpkin seeds added to the diet have a potential to be developed into a male contraceptive agent. Yet, considering their own results show pumpkin seed to also directly kill Sertoli cells, I am not sure those seeds can be safely used even for such purpose. I suppose, the Broda Barnes saying about playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun when it comes to PUFA is quite accurate, at least in regards to maintaining fertility and masculinity.

Dietary fluted pumpkin seeds induce reversible oligospermia and androgen insufficiency in adult rats - PubMed
"...Some components of the human diets are believed to be promising male contraceptive agents. The present study examined the antispermatogenic efficacy, reversibility and toxicity of fluted pumpkin seed-supplemented diet (DFPS) in adult male Wistar rats. Adult rats were given DFPS at 2.5, 5 and 10% for 60 days followed by 60 days post-treatment period. The control animals received normal standard rat diet not supplemented with fluted pumpkin seeds. The sperm quality variables, testosterone and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), oxidative status of the testis, steroidogenic enzymes and gamma-glutamyl transferase (γ-GT) activities and the histology of the testis were determined to evaluate the anti-fertility activity of fluted pumpkin seeds. Treatment of animals with DFPS at 5% and 10% resulted in decreased serum and intratesticular testosterone and FSH concentrations. This effect was associated with decreased activity of 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17β-HSD), increased testicular oxidative stress and poor sperm quality in the 10% diet group. After 60 days DFPS post-treatment, intra-testicular 17β-HSD and γ-GT activities, FSH and testosterone levels recovered to control values. Furthermore, poor sperm motility, count, morphology and viability as well as severe loss of spermatogonia and other matured epithelial germ cells and Sertoli cells observed especially in the 10% DFPS-treated animals reverted to nearly control values 60 days after withdrawal of treatment. Dietary fluted pumpkin seeds may selectively act on the epithelial germ cells, possibly mediated via Sertoli cells, leading to oligospermia, oxidative damage and androgen insufficiency. The reversibility of these effects to near normal levels after withdrawal of treatment justifies further consideration of DFPS as it may be an effective and readily reversible agent that meets the required criteria of a male contraceptive agent."

"...It is therefore speculated in the present study that DFPS could directly kill Sertoli cells to arrest spermatogenesis. It is therefore thought that the observed oligospermia could be due to selective action of FPS on developing germ cells, possibly mediated via Sertoli cells. Furthermore, severe oligospermia (concentrations of less than 1 million sperm per/mL) is thought to decrease the chances of conception to less than 1% per year, and has emerge as a reasonable goal for male contraceptive research (Amory 2016). The available evidence shows that a FPS supplemented diet promotes spermatogenic arrest in adult rat’s testes through multiple mechanisms including direct killing of Sertoli cells. The reversal of the antifertility effects of FPS on testicular functions makes it a potential male contraceptive candidate. However, further studies to confirm this view are therefore warranted."


Aug 17, 2018
@haidut @everyone

I am a little confused. Vitamin E is in lot of nuts and seeds. One would think if you consume sprouted nuts and seeds you are getting good amount of vitamin E. But according to Haidut's article above (and many other I read on the forum and elsewhere) it's not healthy to consume nuts and seeds. It doesn't make sense to me. Can someone explain this please why consuming sprouted nuts and seeds is not good?


Dec 28, 2014
Dallas Texas
Does anyone know of the effects of pumpkin seeds on females in addition to standard PUFA health destruction?


Jul 21, 2019
Near the Promised Land
Kind of like a push/pull thing. You can eat nuts and get PUFA but then protective E, but that's sort of akin to getting stabbed and then immediately having the wound attempted to be healed.

Would anyone want something that has bad in it even if it has something that tries to nullify it (not that anything is entirely "good" in it)? Plus besides the PUFA/E angle there are other factors that may make foods less than ideal such as them consisting of compounds that metabolically are inferior/damaging than other foods can be (could be very individual though), thus having a more negative effect on one's physiology outside of just a black and white/"good or bad" approach in comparing PUFA to no PUFA or such. I guess that's the stuff Peat takes effect to -- that although there are bad things for physiology and not so bad ones there is also a "middle" ground where the body is not expected to be a machine that only takes an input and gives an output but numerous other factors can weigh in on to what can ultimately spell out one's physiology, health and etc. given factors like diet, life choices/circumstances and so on.

For example you can eat something "bad" but with so many other physiological things to take account for it could presumably be possible that it's more toxic for person 'X' than it is for 'Y' because there's probably more to health than just the very thing we eat or don't eat at certain times probably somewhat at least beyond the realm of known nutrition/etc.

It's said here often that, "Person 'Y' eats PUFA and is not sick and dying," or something along those lines, but that right there is immediately rendering the whole entire spectrum of health discussion down to, "Eats this or that = this or that result 100%" which shuts the discussion down because it becomes a polarized war of PUFA or thyroid or etc. Since Peat himself alludes to things outside of diet like our development, environment and so on it's obvious that picking out one thing and pretending nothing else matters is kind of short sighted, therefore explaining partially the concerns over PUFA, nuts, and how things differ in different people even if they do the same/similar things, which makes "good" or "bad" no longer all there is to things exactly.

Much of the reasoning behind, "Does this = gets that," point blank is often usually aligning human physiology more concretely with a computer memory model or such like, "Send these bytes to this address and this piece of hardware will respond this exact way always." I'm not saying I don't follow at least some of the "Peat principles" or whatnot, but I've come to realize that you can't follow a model based on human physiology and so forth if you allude its full scope of potential down to 'X' = 'Y' and nothing else.
Dec 18, 2018
There is something else in the Pumpkin seed and also in saw palmetto which causes this, it is not a direct effect of pufa per se. Very low dosages, 320mg/d of the oil of pumpkin seed are sufficient to reduce prostate volume.
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