When we talk about fertility, the emphasis is often on the female. Fertility struggles are a huge burden to bare, and when the emphasis is on one person, the burden is even bigger. Think of fertility as the weight you carry on your shoulders, imagine if we shared that weight with others, for example your partner, whom you are trying to start a family with. The weight on your shoulders would be lighter and the burden would be shared, which is so important in fertility. For these reasons, as well as many others, I decided I needed to write a blog post with the 5 Things You Need to Know About Male Fertility.
Male fertility accounts for 30-40% of fertility struggles. This statistic means that male fertility struggles account at least 3 out of every 10 couples struggling with fertility. That is a very high percentage, especially when we consider that the emphasis in fertility is women. Sperm quality and quantity has decreased substantially in the last 80 years. In the 1940s, the average amount of sperm per millilitre was 113 million cells, that dropped to 66 million in the 1990s, which is a 40% decrease. 90% of cases of low sperm count is a result of production issues.
Why is male fertility Decreasing?
Let’s talk about toxins for a minute, in the past 20 years, the amount of toxins in our lives and environment have grown exponentially. Currently there are over 200 toxins found in umbilical cord blood, and on average women are exposed to around 226 toxins before leaving the house in the morning. Many of the toxins in our environments, are xenoestrogens, this means they replicate estrogen in our bodies. This effects men just as much as it effects women. Xenoestrogens cause men to have an increased amount of estrogens circulating in their bodies, which decreases sperm quality and quantity, and can even cause estrogen dominance in men. The beer belly and man boobs are often signs of estrogen dominance.
Other reasons for poor sperm quality and quantity is a decrease in nutrition. Now, you would think that living in industrialized countries would lead to better nutrient status, but unfortunately that’s not the case.
The nutrient status of food in North America in particular has decreased over the last 50 years. Soil is depleted of key nutrients, including iodine, which accounts as a main reason for increased thyroid disorders. Not only is soil depleted of nutrients, which means our food is depleted of nutrients, but people are more likely to reach for processed and packaged foods instead of whole foods, due to the level of convenience they provide.
Overall health has declined, which means that sperm quality and quantity has also declined
Successful implantation is also impaired when there has been injury or infection. The main cause of this is past or present sexually transmitted infections, especially if they’ve gone untreated for any amount of time. This type of issue is known as immunological infertility, which means that the immune system is attacking sperm cells. Immunological infertility impedes the sperms ability to move and penetrate cervical mucous, leading to unsuccessful implantation.
Making Sperm into Super Swimmers
- Avoid xenoestrogens:
• swap conventionally raised
• animal products, including meat and dairy for organic
• decrease use of conventional cleaning products and household products, including shaving products and shampoo and hair products. Look for non-toxic brands.Some of the brands I recommend for men include:
– Groom Shaving and Beard Products
– Schmidts Deodorant
– Really Great Goods Cleaning Products
– Beautycounter Shampoo
- Avoid xenoestrogens:
2. Increase antioxidants and decrease free radical damage
Free radicals are found in the semen of 40% of infertile men. Sperm are highly susceptible to free radical damage because of their high polyunsaturated fat content. This fat is needed for sperm integrity and fluidity. Antioxidants are protection for sperm against environmental toxins, like smoking or second hand smoke, emissions, and environmental pollutants. These toxins lower sperm count, motility, and increases abnormal sperm.
What I recommend:
• Take 500 milligrams of Vitamin C, 2-3 times daily.
Vitamin C has been shown to increase sperm motility and reduces free radical damage to sperm and improves antioxidant status, which protects sperm against damage. Vitamin C is also high in oranges and bell peppers, to mention a few. Vitamin C is a water soluble nutrient which means every time you go pee, you lose vitamin C. That’s why it’s ideal to take vitamin C throughout the day rather than one large dose all at once.
3. Limit or avoid beer
Notice, I didn’t say all alcohol. Beer has an interesting reaction in the body. It actually inhibits zinc absorption (well get to zinc in a minute) and instead it converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone is a much more potent and dangerous form of testosterone and is pro-inflammatory and when circulating in the bloodstream does quite a bit of damage. This testosterone byproduct is the culprit of enlarged prostate as well as male infertility, by compromising sperm motility and impairing production. Try taking a break from beer for 12 weeks, while preparing to start a family or trying to start a family.
Zinc is the most critical trace mineral for male sexual function. It is also the second most abundant mineral in human tissue, yet the World Health Organization estimates one third of the world’s population is deficient in zinc. This mineral is involved in almost all aspects of reproduction, including hormone metabolism, sperm formation, and sperm motility. Zinc supplementation has shown to increase sperm count and regulate healthy testosterone levels. It also limits the conversion of testosterone to that harmful counterpart, that I mentioned above, dihydrotestosterone. Zinc is also important to supplement as it is lost with every ejaculation.
What I recommend:
Supplement zinc: take 45-60 milligrams once daily.
Zinc is also available in many foods including: oysters, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
5. Go on a Hot Date
Fertility struggles can and usually are all-consuming and can cause a lot of frustration in a relationship, due to the amount of stress that couples are under. Remember why you fell in love with you wife or girlfriend or partner and take her out on a date. Try to think back to before you were trying to have a baby, try and remember some of the best dates and memories you have. Re-live those fun, carefree times, before you were experiencing the stress, frustration, and hurt that goes along with struggling to get pregnant.
What I recommend:
Plan a weekly date night. Alternate who plans the date and try new things. Go for dinner, plan a picnic, go to the movies, go rock climbing, take a walk along the boardwalk, go to an art gallery, make a fancy dinner together, go to a museum, etc.
Try to leave your fertility concerns at the door and then when you get home from your fun date, have sex, passionate, intimate sex. Intimate sex produces better quality sperm and increases implantation chances.
These are my top 5 tips for increased male fertility. If you learned anything in this blog, or think it would benefit someone else please share it, after all sharing is caring. I know my audience is predominantly female, so feel free to share this with your partner-in-crime, your person, your love bug, your hubby. No one should go through fertility struggles alone.
I hope this blog post helped you realize that it takes two to tango and that there is always something you can do to optimize your fertility.