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How To Improve Male Fertility

dad and baby

 

While we often focus on the woman when it comes to infertility, male infertility factors may be found in as many of 30-50% of all infertility cases. Men provide half of the genetic material for the baby so it makes sense to address potential issues in both partners! In this post we’ll look at how to improve male fertility.

 

For men, the main factor for fertility is the ability to produce healthy sperm. Healthy sperm are typically measured by:

  • Sperm count: the number of sperm in a specific amount of fluid
  • Sperm motility: number of active cells and their ability to swim
  • Sperm morphology: shape and size of sperm cells
  • DNA quality: (not typically on a sperm analysis) sperm that have healthy DNA vs. damaged DNA

 

Some of the main players in male infertility are an abnormal sperm count, low motility, poor morphology, or damaged DNA. So what causes poor sperm health?

 

Oxidative stress in the body, which causes DNA damage, is estimated in between 30-80% of all male infertility cases.

Oxidative stress is when there are more free radicals in your body compared to antioxidants. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause damage to your cells. They are made both naturally through metabolic processes in the body as well as from environmental stressors. As you age or are exposed to environmental stressors (poor diet, alcohol, tobacco, inadequate sleep, chemicals etc.), your body is less able to stabilize these free radicals and prevent them from causing damage. One of the main ways your body neutralizes these free radicals is through antioxidants – which come from the diet!

 

Sperm are very vulnerable to oxidative stress so if your antioxidant or nutrient supply is low, your sperm health
will be affected and there is a higher likelihood of miscarriage, birth defects, or inability to conceive.

 

Oxidative stress can increase with age, obesity (also alters hormone production), stress, inflammation, poor diet, dysregulation of blood sugar, toxin exposure, inflammation and more. Of note: poor health of your sperm can also be caused by other medical issues such as varicocele or infections.

 

How to improve sperm health and male fertility:

If you have poor sperm health, there is good news! There are many changes you can make to improve your fertility.

  • Improve your diet: focus on balancing blood sugar, reducing inflammation, and loading up on antioxidants!
    • Decrease sugar, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, alcohol
    • Increase antioxidant rich fruits and veggies, water, good quality proteins and fats
  • Manage weight
  • Reduce stress: when your body is in “fight or flight” mode it isn’t worried about reproduction
  • Check vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant status: I love doing micronutrient testing so we know exactly what your body needs!
    • Replenish nutrients and antioxidant through food and supplements
  • Increase antioxidants and nutrients
    • Vitamin C: improves sperm motility, count, and morphology
      • Citrus fruits, sweet peppers, strawberries, broccoli
    • Vitamin E: may improve sperm quality and motility
      • Nuts, seeds, avocado, green veggies
    • Vitamin D: linked to increased testosterone and improved sperm quality
      • Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, trout), egg yolks
    • Folate: increases sperm count, decreases DNA damage
      • Green leafy veggies, oranges, nuts, beans, peas, whole grains
    • CoQ10: may improve sperm motility and count
      • Beef, chicken, eggs, sunflower seeds, pistachios
    • Zinc: boosts testosterone which increases sperm count and motility. Reduces DNA damage.
      • Oysters, red meat, nuts, beans, spinach, pumpkin seeds
    • Selenium: may increase sperm production and quality
      • Brazil nuts, seafood, beef, liver
    • Omega 3 fatty acids: improve sperm count, motility, morphology
      • Fatty fish, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts
    • Stay active: exercise can increase sperm count as it boosts testosterone
    • Stop smoking: smoking results in huge amounts of oxidative stress on your body
    • Decrease heat to testicles: too much heat damages sperm
      • Hot tubs
      • Saunas
      • Excess weight
      • Laptops on lap
    • Minimize toxin exposure: especially endocrine disruptors
    • Consider other herbs such as saw palmetto, maca, ashwagandha, Asian ginseng

Sperm typically take 72-90 days to mature, so in just a few months you can improve your sperm health and fertility!

 

 

If you want help on your fertility journey, contact me for a free consult!

 

 

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