There was a decrease in inflammation and normalisation in the levels of sperm transcripts and maintenance of telomere length.
New Delhi: According to a study conducted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), a daily yoga routine significantly improves sperm quality. The study, which was published earlier this year in the Nature Review Urology, an international medical journal, was conducted by experts in the department of anatomy at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in collaboration with the department of urology and obstetrics and gynaecology.
The major cause of defective sperm function is DNA damage. The quality of genetic components in sperm is vital for the birth of a healthy offspring, said Dr Rima Dada, the professor in-charge of the laboratory of molecular reproduction and genetics at the department of anatomy, AIIMS.
“Sperm DNA damage is the common underlying cause of idiopathic infertility, idiopathic recurrent spontaneous abortion, and congenital malformations. Sperm DNA damage also leads to increased chances of de novo germ line mutations and accumulation of mutagenic bases. This leads to the offspring being at increased risk of genetic and epigenetic disorders, thus adversely affecting the health trajectory of the offspring,” Dr Dada said.
The major cause of DNA damage is oxidative stress, a condition in which there is imbalance between the free radical levels and the antioxygen capacity in the body. Of all the cells in the body, the male germ cell is the most vulnerable to oxidative stress.
Presumably, oxidative stress can be caused by various internal and external factors like environmental pollution, exposure to insecticides and pesticides, electromagnetic radiation, infection, smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, and nutritionally depleted fast food.
All these factors are preventable and simple modifications in our lifestyle can positively improve the DNA quality, which in turn can reduce incidents of male infertility.
Performing yoga regularly reduces oxidative stress, decreases DNA damage, and aids in maintenance of the telomere lengths, Dr Dada said. This study was done among 200 men, who practiced yoga for 6 months.
“We observed a significant decline in seminal oxidative stress (within 21 days) and improvement in DNA quality (6 months). There was a decrease in inflammation and normalisation in the levels of sperm transcripts and maintenance of telomere length. There was reduction in severity of depression, stress, and anxiety scores,” she said.