According to a popular urban myth, Mountain Dew seriously affects the sperm count. To debunk the myth right away, fans of this soft carbonated drink don’t have to worry about their reproductive health. There is no scientific evidence that indicates Mountain Dew kills sperm.
But how did this myth come to life in the first place?
Well, it all boils down to yellow dye #5 and caffeine, two of the main Mountain Dew ingredients. To be fair, these ingredients don’t do wonders for sperm count, but there’s no real danger either, assuming you are in good health.
Here is the complete answer to the question does mountain dew kill your sperm.
How Does Caffeine Affect Sperm?
With 55 mg of caffeine per a 12-oz serving, Mountain Dew tops the list when compared to some other caffeinated drinks. For example, Diet Coke has 46.6 mg, Coca-Cola Classic 34 mg, Yellow Mellow 52.8 mg, and Pepsi-Cola contains 37.5 mg of caffeine.
A review published in the Nutrition Journal analyzed 28 sperm measurement studies in relation to coffee and caffeine intake. Certain evidence shows negative effects, but the results were too inconsistent to draw a definitive conclusion.
It may come as surprise, but higher sperm motility (its ability to move) can occur if a man drinks a 12-oz cup of coffee every day. On the other hand, lower motility comes with excessive caffeine intake of four or more cups of coffee a day. If you are to compare caffeine amount per 12 oz in Mountain Dew and coffee, it’s obvious the carbonated drink is not likely to do any harm.
You see, a 12-oz cup of coffee has 217mg of caffeine, almost four times the amount in Mountain Dew. As hinted, you need to drink at least four cups of coffee to slow down sperm. This means you’d have to drink more than 10 cans of Mountain Dew for the same negative effect.
That being said, you shouldn’t binge on Mountain Dew. But even if you do, it will affect the sperm motility, not kill the eager swimmers.
How Does Yellow Dye #5 Affect Sperm?
According to rumors, Yellow Dye #5 (tartrazine) is the second common culprit that affects male fertility. The myth goes a step further, stating that this die can reduce the size of the testicles and penis. There is no reason to worry, though, as your family jewels are going to stay intact.
Both the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) labeled tartrazine as safe for human consumption. The EFSA conducted a test on people who consumed 1225mg of tartrazine per kilogram of body weight and did not find any negative effects on male fertility. Still, you should know that the FDA recommendation for tartrazine intake caps at 5mg per kilogram of body weight a day.
Fertility concerns aside, Yellow Dye #5 may produce certain side effects. Some people are sensitive to this food coloring and might experience hyperactivity, eczema, or even asthma. Luckily, these are rare cases. Unless you are particularly susceptible to food-related allergic reactions, you should be completely safe.
In fact, tartrazine is a very common food coloring. Besides Mountain Dew, it can be found in cosmetics, medication, and foods like candy and potato chips. Very little of this food coloring is metabolized in your body. Instead, most of it comes out through the urine.
The bottom line is that tartrazine neither kills sperm nor affects the sperm count. Still, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recommends avoiding all food dyes, including the Yellow Dye #5. This is because food additives might be contaminated with carcinogenic substances.
Male Reproductive Health 101
Zero sperm count and low sperm count shouldn’t be confused. The former may indicate a bigger underlying problem with the testicles or tubes that carry semen. Visible symptoms include lumps or swelling in the testicles, decrease in the body or facial hair, and lower libido.
A lot of men notice the problem only when they struggle to conceive a child. Hormonal or physical conditions are two major reasons men suffer from infertility. There are also medications, STDs like gonorrhea, and certain inflammations that affect the sperm count.
For example, hypertension medication is known to impair ejaculation, plus it might trick your body to produce semen antibodies and kill sperm. Digestive disorders like the celiac disease cause small intestine inflammation which might spread to other areas in the lower abdomen and reduce the sperm count.
Various environmental factors and lifestyle choices affect male fertility as well. Men who get exposed to organic solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals might have a lower sperm count. Radiation exposure is yet another environmental factor that affects sperm count and health.
As for lifestyle choices, obesity and smoking are particularly detrimental for sperm count. Excessive alcohol consumption and drug abuse are the enemies of sperm as well. And while moderate exercise may help improve sperm quality and count, too much of it could produce negative effects.
Boosting Male Fertility
First, the testicles mustn’t be overheated. This means that you should avoid wearing tight clothes or underwear. Sitting for too long, especially with a laptop on your legs, is a major no-no.
Moderate exercise and a sensible diet help you regulate weight and increase sperm motility and health. You need to keep your refined sugar intake at a minimum and go heavy on foods rich in soluble fiber like sweet potatoes, broccoli, or kidney beans.
In general, a fertility-boosting diet should be rich in nutrients such as minerals, vitamins (B complex and D), zinc, and iron. It is also important to limit the soy intake. Antioxidant and folate supplements are also beneficial for male reproductive health.
Finally, you need to get a sufficient amount of sleep to allow the cells in your body, including sperm, to regenerate. If you suspect that there is something wrong with your reproductive health despite the healthy lifestyle and diet, you should consult with a doctor.
The Bottom Line
Does Mountain Dew kill your sperm? No, it doesn’t. Drinking this beverage is completely safe for your reproductive health. However, you shouldn’t overindulge on it.
Similar to other carbonated soft drinks, Mountain Dew has plenty of sugar, 46g per 12 oz to be precise. Excessive sugar consumption increases the chance of diabetes and obesity. In addition, you shouldn’t overlook the fact that Mountain Dew is rich in caffeine. While caffeine is not bad for sperm, it can upset your stomach and cause irritability and diarrhea.
When all is said and done, you don’t need to give up on your favorite soda – just make sure to keep the intake moderate.