5 Ways to Boost Male Fertility and Improve Sperm Parameters
It takes 3 components to create and maintain a healthy pregnancy: a healthy egg cell, a receptive uterus, and a healthy sperm cell. According to Canadian government statistics, roughly 16% (or 1 in 6) of couples in Canada experience infertility. 30% of the time, the cause is due to a male factor issue. If you are at the beginning of your fertility journey, you and/or your lady have probably already jumped on Dr. Google and started doing some research. I wanted to give you a simplified honey-do list so you and your boys can get a head-start to do your part to ensure a healthy conception and birth.
FIRST THINGS FIRST, WHEN SHOULD I GET MY SPERM TESTED?
If you and your partner have had regular, unprotected sex for more than a year (or six months if you’re older than 35) without conceiving, it is time to go to your doctor and get your fertility assessment done. This will start with some routine blood testing for both partners and a sperm analysis for you to check the number, shape, and movement of your sperm.
Even if you haven’t hit that 6 month or 1 year mark and are actively trying to conceive, there are some easy ways to boost your sperm quality. Here is your honey-do list:
1. Eat for Fertility
Let’s start with the basics. You need the right building blocks to create healthy sperm so this all starts with diet. Watch the Acubalance Fertility Diet Video and read the complimentary E-book. This is because eating a healthy diet, exercising and eliminating stress and environmental toxins is not just important for women. In a study just released this year in the journalHuman Reproduction Update, a systematic review and analysis of findings between 1973 and 2011 found that the concentration of sperm in the ejaculate of men in western countries has fallen by an average of 1.4% a year, with an overall drop of 52%. While there are no definitive conclusions being drawn as to why sperm concentrations are falling, researchers are speculating that weight gain, lack of physical activity, smoking, and exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals may have an effect.
Additionally, there are some foods in particular that have been shown to improve sperm health.
There are many tasty recipes on our website if you feel lost on inspiration. My favorites for men are:
Nookie Cookies: Dr. Ryan Funk blogged about the 1 thing that can improve male fertility and it is as simple as eating 2.5 ounces of walnuts a day. These cookies by Dr. Bronwyn Melville incorporate walnuts and are yummy AND healthy!
Breakfast Frittata Muffins: One of the first things patients complain about when they start eating healthy is “What am I supposed to eat for breakfast?” Most of us have to rush out the door in the morning and don’t have time for a balanced breakfast. You can plan ahead for your week and make these frittata muffins ahead of time so you’re well-prepared to start your day off right during the week.
2. Supplements for Sperm Health:
The next step is getting some good quality supplements on board. The basic protocol I recommend to improve sperm quality and quantity is:
A “MEN’S PRENATAL”: At Acubalance, we carry Fertil-Pro Men which has a good mix of zinc, selenium and essential vitamins to support sperm health.
COQ10: This is short for Coenzyme Q10 which is an antioxidant that is produced in the liver. As an antioxidant, it protects the body from cellular damage. Its main job is to help cells create energy which is important when it comes to sperm health. In a paper from 2009 published in “Fertility and Sterility”, researchers from Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy demonstrated in preliminary studies that CoQ10 is present and measurable in seminal fluid. The concentration of CoQ10 has a direct positive correlation with both sperm count and movement.
OMEGA 3 FISH OILS: This paper from 2012 demonstrated that omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids (found in fish oil) have a direct effect on enhancing sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm morphology. They conclude that for men who have idiopathic, or unexplained abnormal sperm parameters could benefit from fish oil supplementation.
TRIBULUS: This is a traditional herb that has been used for impotence and low libido. A study from 1996 has shown that Tribulus has a positive effect on sperm motility and count. Early research is also demonstrating that this herb has an effect on testosterone levels and an increase in muscle mass.
3. Lifestyle Suggestions:
AVOID HEAT AND TIGHTIE WHITIES: Your testicles are specifically designed to self-regulate and keep your boys at the optimum temperature. This is why the testicles hug in tight when it’s chilly outside and get all loosey-goosey when the weather warms up. By utilizing saunas, hot tubs, hot yoga and tightie whities, you are not allowing your testicles to do their job of self-regulation and quite literally cooking your sperm.
PUT YOUR CELL PHONE IN YOUR BACK POCKET AND DON’T USE YOUR LAPTOP ON YOUR LAP: A study published in 2014 in the Central European Journal of Urology demonstrated that radiation from cell phones have a negative impact on sperm health
EXERCISE REGULARLY: Studies show that men who exercise regularly have higher testosterone levels and better sperm quality than men who are inactive.
4. Sleep In!
In a study of over 1000 young men, there was a direct link found between sleep and male fertility. Men who had poor quality and/or quantity of sleep were found to have 25% less sperm count and smaller testicles. Additionally, in a different study, men who sleep 5-6 hours a night regularly have testosterone levels of men who are 10 years their senior.
5. Acupuncture: It’s not just for the Ladies
Acupuncture helps regulate hormones, decreases stress, and increases blood circulation. Because it takes about 72-90 days for sperm to mature, I usually recommend a schedule of acupuncture of about 3 months for the male partner when a couple of trying to conceive.
For the month of November, Acubalance is donating all proceeds from treatments for men to Movember Canada which is an organization committed to creating awareness around men’s health issues. To book your initial exam, please give Acubalance a call at (604) 379-5418.
Kathleen Lee FABORM, RTCMP, L.Ac. MTCM