You may be asking why, on a website dedicated to Women’s Health, is the focus on male Fertility? While I don’t want to generalize it seems more often than not the woman takes the lead (and feel responsible) for managing fertility in the relationship and woman are usually the driving force behind men’s preparation for conception. |
To date there has been a huge focus on women’s fertility preparation, however it is equally important for men to be preparing their bodies for conception too. According the American Pregnancy Association male fertility factors contribute to approximately 50% of all infertility cases, and male infertility alone accounts for approximately one-third of all infertility cases.
A common misconception is that a man's age does not affect fertility; however this is not the case. Research has shown that male fertility declines quite rapidly from the age of 41 and according to researcher Paula Fettback, of the Huntington Medicina Reproductiva clinic in Brazil – Men do have a biological clock.
There are many factors that impact male infertility and sperm health, however I won’t go into the medical details in this article. Below are some conception preparation tips for all men (and their supportive partners) that may help couples on their road to optimum fertility.
Ensure a diet high In Zinc and Vitamin C
The mineral zinc is critical to male reproductive health and the most important trace mineral for male fertility. Zinc has been shown to increase testosterone levels, sperm count and sperm motility. In seminal fluid zinc appears to protect sperm from bacteria and chromosomal damage and can help repair damage caused by free radicals.
Oysters are one of the best sources of zinc but if you can’t stomach them, other sources include pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, liver, beef and raw cacao. Food is always the best source of acquiring vitamins and minerals but you can also take a zinc supplement available from the Nourishing Hub.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to fight free radicals thus enhancing sperm quality and quantity. Sperm a very susceptible to oxidative damage so upping your antioxidants is great way to improve sperm health.
Increasing the daily amount of vitamin C in men helps them produce more sperm, stronger sperm, and more mobile sperm (helping to prevent them from clumping or sticking together), according to a study conducted by the University of Texas. Natural sources of food high in vitamin C include kiwifruit, strawberries and other berries, oranges and red peppers. There are plenty of vitamin C supplements of on the market but unfortunately many of them have synthetic ascorbic acid. My personal favourite is Lifestream’s vitamin C made from certified organic acerola berries, which are very rich in natural vitamin C.
Spend More Time In The Bedroom
No, I don’t mean sleeping (although getting enough sleep does help with male fertility). Research has shown that having more sex (and frequent ejaculation) helps to increase fertility in males. The theory is that the longer the sperm remains in the testes the more likely they will accumulate DNA damage and the warm environment could also make them more sluggish over time.
In a study of men with fertility problems, daily ejaculation for a week cut the amount of DNA damage seen in sperm samples. Dr David Greening, from Sydney IVF, advise couples trying to conceive is to have sex every two or three days.
Stop Smoking and Reduce Alcohol
Numerous studies have demonstrated the detrimental effects of smoking on sperm health. Smoking either cigarettes or marijuana can reduce sperm count and impair sperm mobility.
The damaging effect of alcohol on sperm is now a scientifically proven fact. . According to Dr Patrick O’Brien, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, “Excessive alcohol lowers testosterone levels and sperm quality and quantity in men. It can also reduce libido, and can cause impotence.
One way in which alcohol does reduces sperm quality and quantity is by preventing the body from absorbing zinc in the normal way – as discussed above zinc plays a crucial role in male fertility.
Eat Your Carbs
It goes without saying that a balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes can help boost fertility. One interesting dietary fact, presented by the European Journal of Applied Psychology, found that diets low in carbs reduced testosterone levels in males by 33%.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that a low carb diet lowered free testosterone by about a third and increased cortisol by about a seventh (15%) when compared to a high carb diet in athletes. So avoid any low carb diets such as the Atkins diet when trying to conceive.
Effects of Mobile Phone Radiation on Sperm
Numerous studies have been conducted to investigate the harmful effects of mobile phones on sperm quality and quantity. Men who carry mobile phones in their pockets are posing a greater risk to their sperm health. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reviewed a number of research papers on the topic and found that 10 studies have discovered significant changes in sperm exposed to cell phone radiation. Mobile phone exposure caused sperm damage through oxidative stress, DNA damage and changes in sperm morphology.
The EWG highlighted that men who carried a cell phone on the belt/pocket and used it intensively during a five-day test period had a 19 percent drop in highly motile sperm from their previous levels.
It is recommended that men do not carry mobiles in their pockets and if they do, they should be switched to flight mode or switched off. Try to use hands-free as much as possible when speaking on the phone. At the Nourishing Hub we are big fans of the Pong Anti Radiation Cases, which significantly decrease phone and WIFI radiation – Click here for more information.
Other Tips for Enhancing Male Fertility
Ginseng Tea - shown to increase sperm count and testosterone levels in men
Wearing boxer shorts rather than tight briefs – keep those testes cool.
Exercise regularly and maintain a balanced weight
Vitamins A, D and E are all important for testosterone levels and sperm counts
CoQ10 Supplement a powerful antioxidant - medical trials have shown it can improve sperm quality in subfertile men. Available at the Nourishing Hub.
Our favourite product for Male Fertility is Mygen Health Fertility Formula for males. It is recommended by naturopaths and contains 17 therapeutically active ingredients including a range of vital nutrients, antioxidants, CoQ10, selenium and zinc. Also available at the Nourishing Hub.
Finally - why not try out our Nourishing Hubby Fertility Smoothie Recipe full of lots of goodies to prepare for conception.
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Male Fertility, Fertility Supplements, fertility vitamins, fertility smoothie, Mygen Health Fertility Formula, Natural Ways to increase male fertility,