I hope this email finds you in good health and high spirits!
Something my dad often talked about was infertility, and one of his many books covered it. He was very concerned about the drop in fertility in many countries worldwide.
This week I’m focusing on male fertility as this isn’t something you hear about as much as female fertility. Often couples head off to their doctors and IVF clinics to find out why they haven’t conceived and get told that their infertility is inexplainable or is the woman’s issue.
Over the last 50 years, there has been a remarkable decrease in sperm count and quality among men in the UK. Research conducted by esteemed institutions and fertility experts has unearthed a startling truth: the average sperm count has nearly halved in the last few decades, while sperm quality has also declined. Not only is sperm quality affecting conception, but it has also been shown that miscarriage can be directly linked to sperm quality. Something most people would think is a female issue.
So, do we need to focus more on male fertility when trying to help couples having trouble conceiving?
While the exact causes for male fertility decline are complex and multifaceted, evidence points towards a combination of environmental, lifestyle, and health factors. Exposure to endocrine disruptors, such as certain chemicals in plastics and pesticides, may harm male reproductive health. Additionally, factors like obesity, sedentary lifestyles, stress, smoking, alcohol consumption, and poor diet have all been linked to decreased sperm count and quality.
So what can be done to help male fertility? –
Nutrition: Consume a well-balanced diet rich in berries, vegetables, organic/wild/grass-fed meat and fish, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds and healthy fats. Nutrients such as zinc, selenium, folate, and antioxidants are essential.
Exercise: Regularly exercise to maintain a healthy weight and promote overall well-being. Aim for a combination of cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and flexibility exercises.
Manage Stress: High levels of stress can negatively impact sperm production. Practice stress management techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or engage in hobbies that promote relaxation.
Avoid Endocrine Disruptors: Reduce exposure to chemicals found in plastics, pesticides, and certain personal care products that may have endocrine-disrupting properties. Choose BPA-free products, opt for organic produce, and consider using natural alternatives to household cleaners and personal care items. Find out if Glyphosate, a herbicide, is used by your local council, as they spray this stuff all over parks and playgrounds (I could write a whole email on this terrible stuff!).
Be Mindful of Heat: Excessive heat can harm sperm production. Avoid hot tubs, saunas, and prolonged exposure to high temperatures, especially around the testicles. Opt for loose-fitting underwear and clothing to allow for proper airflow.
Quit Smoking: Smoking has been linked to reduced sperm count, motility, and quality. Seek professional help or join a support group to quit smoking successfully.
Moderate Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol intake may impair sperm production. It is advisable to consume alcohol in moderation or consider eliminating it altogether.
Maca Black – Maca black, a natural supplement derived from the maca plant, has been associated with potential benefits for male fertility. Rich in essential nutrients and bioactive compounds, maca black may support reproductive health by promoting hormone balance and enhancing sperm quality. Studies suggest that its consumption may increase sperm count, motility, and overall fertility in men.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for male fertility. These fatty acids, particularly DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), are integral components of sperm cell membranes, ensuring their structural integrity and functionality. Omega-3s also support the production of prostaglandins, which play a crucial role in sperm motility and fertilisation. These fats also have anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce oxidative stress in the reproductive system, improving sperm quality and overall fertility.
Zinc – Zinc is essential for the production and maturation of sperm cells, contributing to healthy sperm count, motility, and morphology. It helps regulate testosterone levels, which are crucial for maintaining reproductive health in men. Adequate zinc intake is linked to improved sperm quality and increased fertility.
Selenium – As an antioxidant, selenium helps protect sperm cells from oxidative damage, ensuring their overall health and motility. It also supports DNA synthesis in sperm cells, contributing to their proper development. Studies suggest adequate selenium levels are associated with improved sperm quality, count, and overall reproductive function in men.
L-carnitine – L-carnitine, an amino acid-like compound, plays a crucial role in energy metabolism. In sperm cells, L-carnitine helps maintain energy production, which is essential for sperm motility and vitality. Studies have shown that supplementation with L-carnitine can improve sperm quality, including motility and morphology, thus enhancing male fertility.
Co-enzyme Q10 – CoQ10 has been linked to potential benefits in improving sperm health and overall reproductive outcomes. It supports the energy demands of sperm, enhancing motility and vitality. As an antioxidant, CoQ10 also helps protect sperm from oxidative damage, promoting better sperm quality.
Although sperm counts have decreased over the last 50 years, men can make positive health and lifestyle alterations that will increase the chances of conception. Alongside other methods of assisting couples to get pregnant, simple changes can potentially have a real impact. Whatever the reasons, it’s clear that modern life does and will continue to have a negative effect on sperm health.
Wishing you good health and happiness.