Studies: Lack of Sunlight, Cell Phones Damage Male Fertility

Two separate studies released this week sound warnings to men: If you don't get enough sunlight or talk endlessly on your cell phone, you could be damaging your fertility.

In the first study, Sydney researchers looking at 800 men with fertility problems found that almost a third of the men had lower than normal levels of vitamin D. Because sunlight is the major source of vitamin D, researchers believe that a lack of sunlight may damage sperm, the Australian Associated Press reported.

"In a significant number of these men, there were also elevated levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood associated with cell toxicity, and deficiency in folate, which is essential for healthy new cells," said Dr. Anne Clark, medical director of the treatment centre Fertility First.

Clark said concerns about skin cancer could be a contributing factor to the vitamin D deficiency among men, along with work and lifestyle choices, such as avoiding too much direct sunlight exposure. She said vitamin and lifestyle choices were shown to reverse the fertility problems in some of the men.

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In the second study, researchers at the University of Newcastle found that excess cell phone use may eliminate sperm, the AAP reported. The findings back up previous research completed by U.S. researchers that found that men who use cell phones frequently have up to 40 percent fewer sperm than men who use mobile phones less often.

For their study, researchers from the University of Newcastle built a device that operated at the same radio frequency as cell phone calls. The device was found to damage and irradiate sperm.

"After 16 hours exposure, there was clear evidence of DNA damage," said Professor John Aitken, director of the university's Center of Excellence in Biotechnology and Development.

The findings were presented at a fertility conference on Monday in Brisbane, Australia.

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