Tag Archives: Semen quality

Male Infertility in Today’s World!

Research to date on male infertility has been small, largely concentrated on “women’s problems”… Says PAULA MEE reporting in the Irish Times, however, with more and more couples experiencing infertility, there’s a growing interest in getting the male body into shape for conception too.

It is estimated that male issues are involved in almost one-third of infertility cases. Going through infertility testing and treatment programmes is not easy. Couples need helpful strategies to see them through the physical, emotional and monetary demands that can sometimes rock their relationship to its core.

Semen quality is on the decline, and has been for decades. Problems include structural abnormalities and diminished sperm production and motility. Physiology, genetics,  hormone imbalances, environmental toxins, diet and lifestyle have been identified as factors that have an impact on sperm quality.

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Nowadays men are more likely to be invited to attend a preconception consultation on nutrition, along with the mum-to-be, as a man’s weight is one of the most important factors affecting his fertility – being either underweight or overweight is linked with poor semen quality.

Studies show that men with a body mass index (BMI) over 35 have lower sperm

counts and more DNA damage than men of normal weight while overweight men tend to have lower testosterone and higher oestrogen levels, which have a negative impact on sperm production. Sleep apnoea, which is common in overweight men, is also linked to a fall in testosterone levels. Excess fat accumulation increases the buildmother & baby-up of toxic substances in fatty tissue and raises scrotal temperature.

Achieving a healthy BMI should be high on the priority list, as well as giving up smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke. Smoking can damage sperm, lowering count and motility and studies also verify that pesticides, heavy metals and exogenous oestrogens, possibly found in water, decrease sperm production.

Two recent studies found that exposure to endocrine disrupters such as phthalates in plastic packaging and bisphenol A in tinned food may reduce fertility in men so more research is necessary but the advice is to limit exposure to these compounds in the meantime.

Alcohol consumption and stress are two weight-related lifestyle factors that influence fertility in men who drink alcohol excessively may jeopardise implantation and conception as alcohol can be found in the semen comparatively quickly after drinking and alcohol leads to free radical damage and so the advice is that both men and women should avoid or strictly limit alcohol while trying to conceive.

Foods to Help with Infertility

Certain micronutrients can boost your chances of fertility, stress management is important too, with work pressures and overscheduling an issue for many. Stress may also have an adverse effect on cholesterol levels.

A recent study in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that if either one or both partners in a couple had high LDL, or bad cholesterol, it took them considerably longer to get pregnant. One of the researchers concluded that, in addition to raising the risk of cardiovascular disease, the findings suggest cholesterol may contribute to infertility and not surprisingly, many men never have their cholesterol checked!!!

Many studies have linked certain micronutrients such as selenium, zinc, vitamins C and E and folic acid to sperm quality. These nutrients are essential for better health and disease reduction. It appears that the beneficial nutrients recommended for conception are the same ones you need to keep healthy and alive to watch your children grow and start their own families.

The best way to get this diversity of nutrients is to eat well, focusing on seafood, lean animal and plant proteins such as nuts and seeds, wholegrains, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, and essential polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Supplementation may be necessary on the advice of your doctor or dietitian.

Righting the Balance with Male Infertility

Getting the balance right leaves little room for the not-so-fertility-friendly fats, such as saturated and trans fats. These are found in fried foods, processed meats and refined and processed foods such as biscuits, cakes and pastries. An excess of these fats may decrease the membrane fluidity and flexibility necessary for healthy sperm motility. Diets poor in omega 3 and rich in omega 6 may also contribute to poor semen quality and sperm function. Walnuts are very rich in omega 3, as well as vitamin E, zinc, selenium and folate.

Our diets have transformed radically in the past 60 years. Last month researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston linked a high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages with lower sperm motility in healthy young men.

This builds on the evidence from the Rochester Young Men’s study which found that men who followed a “prudent” diet with high intakes of fish, chicken, whole-grains, fruits and vegetables had better semen quality and motility than those who followed the more typical “western” pattern of refined grains, pizza, high-energy drinks and high intakes of red and processed meats and sweets, while researchers found that women undergoing fertility treatment who ate a diet similar to the traditional Mediterranean diet were 40 per cent more likely to become pregnant than those who had the least Mediterranean-like diets. The effects of this pattern of eating would be useful to study in males too.

Antioxidant-rich foods from Eating Expectantly, Fueling Your Fertility include: Fruits: blackberries, redcurrants, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, pineapple, plums and pomegranates

Vegetables: spinach, chili peppers, black and green olives, mushrooms, food1asparagus, arugula, radicchio, beets, broccoli, artichokes and red peppers

Spices: clove, allspice, mint, sage, thyme, nutmeg, rosemary, saffron, tarragon, oregano, ginger, cinnamon, natural cocoa

Beverages: pomegranate, grape, prune, and cranberry juices. (Espresso, coffee, and green and black teas also contain antioxidants but should be consumed in moderation.)

Nuts, seeds, and grains: walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, chestnuts, peanuts, pistachios, buckwheat, millet and barley

Follow this advice and maybe male infertility will be a thing of the past for you

 
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