Men who take folic acid supplements and who eat a diet rich in green vegetables, fruit and lentils have fewer abnormal sperm, according to a research at the University of California.
Pregnant women take vitamins known as folates to prevent birth defects.
The men who took folic acid supplements and ate folate-rich foods had "fewer abnormal sperm in which a chromosome had been lost or gained, known as aneuploidy."
Researches said this is the first study to investigate the effects of diet on sperm quality. American scientists involved in the research found that an intake of high levels of vitamin B could reduce the number of abnormalities in sperm and could reduce the number of children being born with conditions such as Down's syndrome.
"We found a statistically significant association between high folate intake and lower sperm aneuploidy," said Brenda Eskenazi, who helped lead the research team.
"There was increasing benefit with increasing intake, and men in the upper 25th percentile who had the highest intake of folate between 722-1150 micrograms, had 20 percent to 30 percent lower frequencies of several types of aneuploidy compared with men with a lower intake," added Eskenazi.
However, lead authors of the study said they couldn't be sure that it is the high intake of folate that leads directly to fewer sperm abnormalities. It may also be that the men were generally on the healthy side.
If further researches confirm the findings of this study it may lead to recommendations for men as well as women to take folic acid before trying to conceive.
The study was based on 89 healthy men and is reported in the journal Human Reproduction.