By: Kennedy Shelley
Blue Zones was a term coined by National Geographic to designate areas where people seemed to live longer, healthier lives.
These have been studied to try and find clues to help all of us live longer.
Much of the research has focused on diet, hoping to find clues to turn the whole world into a “blue zone.”
But a new study is casting doubt on America’s only Blue Zone, Loma Linda California.
The area is well known for its high concentration of Seventh-Day Adventists. This particular denomination has had inordinate interest in diet and nutrition for a long time, especially in how they avoid meat.
The church started in the 1840’s and while generally protestant, it has always had a great interest in diet.
The founders believed that meat would unleash more carnal influences and they thought they could cut down on immorality (especially sexual infidelity) by making their members vegetarian.
This might have worked better than they expected.
Scientists looked at male sperm counts and motility in Loma Linda, and the results were not good.
Loma Linda is marked by very low sperm counts.
The study focused on the various forms of vegetarians in this Blue Zone, and the results showed markedly low sperm counts.
This is an important marker for male health and vitality according to Endocrine Magazine. They interviewed Dr. Alberto Ferlin (MD, Ph.D.) who said: “Low sperm count is associated with metabolic alteration and cardiovascular risk and low bone mass.”
Low sperm counts are associated with low testosterone levels, which brings about a host of problems. Higher BMI’s, bigger waists and greater chance of metabolic syndrome.
“A large study of male members of infertile couples generates the hypothesis that low sperm count might be a marker of worse overall health.
In a cross-sectional study of 5,177 men who presented for evaluation of infertility, Ferlin et al demonstrated that low total sperm concentration (< 39 million/mL) was associated with greater BMI, systolic BP, higher serum LDL and triglycerides and lower serum HDL concentrations and a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome.
The strength of this study includes a large number of subjects and careful assessment of a number of metabolic parameters.
Dr. Bradley Anawalt Chief of Medicine University of Washington Medical Center Professor and Vice Chair Department of Medicine University of Washington
In short, an important marker of male health is in short supply in Loma Linda.
While many can make jokes about this, it is an important health issue and raises some serious questions especially with the disproportionate effect that Seventh-Day Adventist teaching on health permeates most nutritional dogma.
Ever since the days of John Harvey Kellogg, this particular denomination’s interest in vegetarianism and diet has spilled into mainstream medicine.
This may be in part to its publishing enterprises which produces a great number of medical textbooks and sponsorship of many medical schools.
For example, the idea of breakfast being the most important meal of the day and cereal should be part of a good breakfast is a Seventh-Day Adventist invention but does not have any science behind it.
These all seemed like good ideas to the group and these was suggested to change people’s behavior.
One other interesting historic note, the denomination was responsible for the introduction of soy into the western diet.
But instead of looking at Loma Linda as a healthy blue zone that the rest of us should emulate, we now should take a look at the dangers to male health which may be caused by a vegetarian diet.