Mountain Dew does not kill sperm, contrary to popular myth. There are two reasons why some people mistakenly believe Mountain Dew kills sperm — caffeine and yellow dye 5. These ingredients are in Mountain Dew but not in high enough quantities to kill sperm.
Though Mountain Dew does not affect fertility, many other unrelated factors can lower sperm counts and affect male fertility. These include:
- low testosterone
Exercising, quitting smoking, and losing weight are some ways to improve fertility. Listed in this article are several other proven methods a person can try to boost their fertility.
Does Mountain Dew affect fertility at all?
Mountain Dew does not affect fertility. It has acquired the reputation of impacting fertility mainly due to caffeine and yellow dye 5:
Does caffeine affect fertility at all?
The Nutrition Journal reviewed 28 studies that looked at different sperm measurements.
The researchers concluded that results were not consistent enough to be conclusive, despite some evidence of negative effects.
Mountain Dew has a higher amount of caffeine in a 12-ounce (oz) serving than some other soft drinks, which has led to people taking it as proof that Mountain Dew affects fertility.
Comparing 12 oz servings of Mountain Dew and other drinks shows only a small difference in the amount of caffeine in each:
Pepsi-Cola: 37.5 milligrams (mg)
Coca-Cola Classic: 34.0 mg
Diet Coke: 45.6 mg
Mellow Yellow: 52.8 mg.
Mountain Dew (in various flavors): 55.0 mg.
People should still watch their caffeine intake, although caffeine is unlikely to affect fertility. But it is doubtful that Mountain Dew’s caffeine content would affect fertility when consumed in moderation.
Does yellow dye 5 affect fertility?
Yellow dye 5 is one of the most commonly used food additives.
The chemical name of yellow dye 5 is tartrazine. Tartrazine is what gives Mountain Dew its yellow color. Also, people often cite that tartrazine is a potential allergen as part of the myth.
There are not many current studies on the effects of tartrazine on fertility. One study in rats, although dating back to 1988, was published in Food and Chemical Toxicology and indicated no adverse effects to consuming tartrazine.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved color additives, including tartrazine, for use in both food and drugs.
Tartrazine does pose a risk of allergy to a small portion of the population. People who are allergic to tartrazine may experience side effects from its consumption.
Side effects of tartrazine include:
People who are allergic to tartrazine should avoid its consumption in food and beverages, but not because of any concerns about effects on fertility.
Yellow dye 5, as well as other food dyes, may be contaminated with carcinogens or substances that convert to carcinogens in the body, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
Food dyes are among many additives that the CSPI recommend to avoid for a variety of health reasons.
Proven factors that can affect sperm count
Several proven factors can lower sperm counts and affect male fertility.
According to a review of studies in Biochemistry & Analytical Biochemistry, risk factors for lowering male fertility include:
- age, which sees testosterone in the blood fall, affecting sperm count from around 30 years of age onward
- smoking, which can slow sperm down
- obesity, which affects the number of viable sperm
- excessive exercise, which may lower sperm count
- occupational risks, such as regularly working with poisonous chemicals
- prolonged exposure to heat from a laptop, which can reduce sperm count
- excessive alcohol consumption
- scrotal temperature
- stress levels
- therapeutic drugs
- diabetes and raised blood sugars
The same review of studies explored medical causes of male fertility issues, including:
- varicocele, a condition affecting the testicular veins
- infections in the male reproductive tract
- endocrine disorders affecting male hormones
- disorders that affect male ejaculation
- genetic and chromosomal defects
- immunological factors where sperm antibodies form
Proven ways to improve fertility
Changes that can help improve fertility or sperm count include:
- losing excess weight
- reducing added and refined sugars in the diet
- increasing fiber intake from food
- exercising regularly
- eating walnuts regularly
- having a healthful diet rich in nutrients including iron, zinc, and other vitamins and minerals
- taking folate and antioxidant supplements
- getting plenty of sleep
- limiting alcohol consumption
- reducing soy intake
Mountain Dew does not cause infertility or lower sperm count when consumed in moderation.
Other factors can cause a person to be less fertile, but Mountain Dew does not appear to cause more health effects than other soft drinks.
Mountain Dew is not a healthy drink. People should avoid drinking excessive amounts of any soft drink and sugar-sweetened beverages, including Mountain Dew, so they control their blood sugars and weight, both of which are factors that can affect fertility.