Can a Man's Weight Affect Fertility?

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In my practice I encounter many men seeking to shed a few pounds. This isn't just for vanity but for the benefits that go along with guys who have a healthy weight. The excess weight around the midsection is a common thing for us here in North America. We even have a cute nick name for it The Dad Bod!  Unfortunately more and more research is pointing to the fertility damaging effects of being overweight.  
 
The most recent article I read was published by Andrologia supporting how men who were overweight had significantly diminished fertility.
Men who were overweight had lower sperm counts, lower volume, slower motility and more likely to have asthenospermia (immotile sperm). We know that obesity rates have been steadily increasing since the late 70s. As the average man is heavier than his father was at the same age it's no wonder fertility is declining. In fact statistics show that the average guy today is only half as fertile as his father was.  
 
Unfortunately weight is not the only factor influencing a guys chances of becoming a dad. Sleep is also another factor. Men who sleep in noisy bedrooms find it takes longer before they are able to produce a pregnancy.  
 
There are so many factors which can damage sperm. The environment is very important for the optimal development of a mans fertility. The highly delicate procedure of sperm formation can be easily harmed with small changes. Too high a temperature, chemical exposure, lack of nutrients, inadequate blood flow and other factors can all sabotage sperm production.  
 
Many men will lean on western types of treatment to help improve their chances of getting their partners pregnant (such as IVF with ICSI (intra cytopasmic sperm injection). In some cases this is a viable option, unfortunately it may not help. Older men who had poor sperm count will not see the same results as younger men with similar sperm parameters.  
 
Men who have more chemical exposure will also see poor results. Studies have shown how phthalates found in semen will produce lower quality embryo's with much lower healthy pregnancy rates.  
 
The good news is that there are things men can do to improve the odds of conception. I have written earlier about the 4 things that guys can add into their lives to help. Some things that help can be as simple as eating walnuts regularly. For weight loss, Acubalance has a program that can help. We look more at the reasons why there has been weight gain instead of focusing solely on ways to loose weight. This helps to shift your focus and keep motivated while you go through the process.  
 
If you are looking for options on how to improve your fertility please call and set up a free 15 minute phone Q&A. We can discuss our approach and treatment to male fertility. There is hope.
 
6 tips to improve male fertility
 
Best of Health
Ryan
 
Dr. Ryan Funk, Dr.TCM
FABORM