New research on male obesity and infertility shows TDR is promising solution

Posted On: 25th October 2023

On 29th September, TDMR Europe Chair, Professor Anthony Leeds, was featured in the Health Chats programme of EAWAZ TV, discussing the role of weight loss with total diet replacement (TDR) in improving fertility in men with obesity. Prof Leeds interviewed Doctor Channa Jayasena, consultant in reproductive endocrinology and andrology at Imperial College and Hammersmith Hospital in London, to discuss his recent research on this issue.

Published last month, Dr Jayasena’s study “Improvements in Sperm Motility Following Low – or High -Intensity Dietary Interventions in Men with Obesity”, provides strong evidence that TDR is a promising solution in addressing infertility in men with obesity. “What we have is enough (evidence) to say to couples, given how safe weight loss is and how beneficial it is to your overall health, … if you are affected by obesity and infertility then tackle that obesity with some form of intervention, such as a low energy diet, which is very convenient and also gets results in the short to medium term over a year.” said Dr Jayasena. “The time is right to tell couples that this is certainly something that offers promise” he added stressing that “there is absolutely no drug out there at this time to improve the quality of sperm”. “Couples really need results within a year”, Dr Jayasena emphasised.

Dr Jayasena’s trial demonstrated that men with obesity following a TDR diet, lost 12kg over three months, saw improvement in their semen quality and reduced the damage to their sperm. Discussing the reasoning behind his study, Dr Jayasena explained that, while bariatric surgery is an efficient treatment for severe forms of obesity, which can help restore ovulation, menstrual cycles and fertility in woman, “in men in the first year (after surgery) it paradoxically reduces fertility even further”. Answering Prof Leeds’ question on whether there are any other lifestyle interventions that might be beneficial in addition to weight loss with TDR, Dr Jayasena advised light regular exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming or running two to three times a week, stopping smoking and moderation of or cutting out drinking. “You need to be your best healthiest self to stand the best chance of parenthood” he added.

Prof Leeds also discussed with Dr Jayasena the link between obesity and the increasing prevalence of infertility worldwide. Dr Jayasena claimed that infertility affects 10-15% of couples on a global scale and noted that research on this issue has shown a 55% drop in recorded sperm count since 1970. “With obesity, at least, we are very clear on the major contribution it plays; in fact, it is likely to be affecting up to 25% of men with infertility” Dr Jayasena said.

The full interview is available here.

Read more about the research on the role of TDR in addressing male obesity and infertility here.

A list of studies in which weight loss was achieved with TDR can be found here.

TDMR Europe works to help stakeholders develop a better understanding of formula diet foods and aims to increase awareness of the scientific evidence showing the effectiveness of these products in tackling obesity and improving related comorbidities. Find out more here.

Aris Myriskos, TDMR Europe Secretariat