For people who have been trying to get pregnant for quite a long time already, or are just starting to conceive, a lifestyle change is sometimes required in order to boost fertility. Bear in mind, the lifestyle of a person is not the root cause of male infertility, but making improvements can help sperm health, especially if you are someone with borderline sperm challenges. The following fertility tips may also help treatments to be more effective.
- Add Antioxidants in Your Diet
Antioxidants are commonly known to fight heart disease and cancer. But don’t you know that they may also aid in increasing fertility? Antioxidants are compounds that protect cells against damage from free radicals. These free radicals are naturally produced by the body once it metabolizes your food. However, they are also formed when the body is exposed to pollution, toxic chemicals, cigarette smoke, and radiation.
Sperm are also body cells, which means that incorporating antioxidants into your diet can give a boost to their health. There have been many studies conducted which discovered that men who took antioxidants as a dietary supplement had less DNA damaged sperm compared to men who chose not to take them. Some of these studies have proven that the men who took additional antioxidants had increased the pregnancy rates of their female partners. Basically, antioxidants are plenty, but the following were studied particularly for the purpose of overall sperm health improvement:
- Vitamin C – present in a variety of vegetables and fruits, and with the highest amounts in grapefruits, red peppers, oranges, and kiwis.
- Vitamin E – present in green leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, and oils.
- Selenium – present in chicken, beef, cod, tuna, and turkey. Have high levels in Brazil nuts; 1 oz gives 780% of the recommended value per day.
- Lycopene – present in watermelons, apricot, tomatoes, and pink grapefruits.
- Zinc – present in beans, oysters, poultry, crab, and red meat.
- Folic Acid – present in fruits, leafy green vegetables, beans, beef liver, peas, and usually in fortified grains.
Try to incorporate these foods daily into your diet, or you may opt to take a supplement. Needless to say, moderation is recommended. Do not consume an excessive amount of these foods. For example, it is not advisable to eat Brazil nuts every day. Moreover, you should consult with your doctor first before taking supplements as some can affect other medications. The medical professional is also the right person to tell you the ideal amount of food with antioxidants to eat.
- Monitor the SOY in Your Diet
Based on a study about food intake, an excessive amount of soy can have an effect on the sperm counts. The study discovered that the men who had lower sperm counts had been eating large amounts of soy. You may think that this does not concern you given that you do not eat tofu. Remember, you can now find soy in different foods such as in energy bars, fake meat patties, and health drinks. By looking closely at your eating habits, the amount of soy you are consuming may be a shock to you.
It is said that men who consumed a large amount of soy had about 41 million less sperm compared to men who did not eat soy. But soy is not entirely bad for fertility. There is some research that discovered soy can prevent prostate cancer. A study about soy and sperm showed that men who were obese or overweight reacted more to soy. In addition, sperm concentration is lower if the soy intake is higher. Therefore, if you are obese or overweight, it is time to limit your soy consumption. And for those with other body types, simply do not eat large amounts of soy. For example, do not eat a soy burger, a soy-based shake, and cereal with soy milk, all in a single day.
- Stop Smoking
There are so many positive reasons why your should quit smoking. If you are still uncertain, here is one more good reason; giving up your smoking habit can help increase fertility. Many studies have proven that smoking affects different areas of male fertility. This includes the reduced sperm count, sperm shape, and sperm motility (the ability of sperm to swim). Even if you have been receiving fertility treatments, you are still not spared if you continue smoking. Scientific studies have also shown that smoking had a high impact on the success of fertility treatment when using In vitro fertilization (IVF) with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).
4. Avoid Toxins at Work
If conceiving has been your problem for some time, consider taking a look at your workplace. It seems that painters, farmers, and varnishers are more likely to have fertility problems with much lower sperm counts, as opposed to men who are working in different industries. On the other hand, metal works and welders had more cases of poor sperm motility. The explanation for these cases of weak sperm health and infertility are not verified. But, the chemical compounds present in metal working, varnish, paint, and pesticides may potentially damage sperm. Also, metal workers are exposed to overheating, which can significantly reduce the sperm counts.
So, what can you do if you are working in one of those industries? The truth is, this question is quite hard to answer. Despite learning that the jobs of these men are the main factor of their poor sperm health, researchers have not studied what would happen should they change careers, or if there are actually approaches to take that can help avoid damaging fertility health while still continuing to work in these environments. But good sense means you should avoid being exposed to toxins while on the job whenever possible; this means keeping the body covered and protected from strong chemicals, wearing gloves, wearing a mask, etc.
- Keep It Cool Down There
There is a reason why the male reproductive organs are located outside the body, and that is to keep them at a low temperature, preferably below 98.6 F, which is the normal body temperature of a human being. Therefore, there is a chance to increase your sperm count by keeping it cool in that area. High temperatures are known to have negative effect on sperm, so do not take long hot baths and stay away from hot tubs.
Whether or not you like hot tubs, there are some other things you may be doing regularly that raise the temperatures of your scrotum. For example, sitting for long hours every day can increase your scrotum temperatures. You need to get up and walk around from time to time especially if you take long commute daily or have a desk job. While you are aiming to increase your fertility, you are also boosting your energy at the same time.
While on the subject of long commutes, try not to activate your seat heater during the winter. These seat heaters in some automobiles when switched on, warms up the car seat, resulting in higher scrotal temperatures. In addition, it is not advisable to put your laptop on your lap. The heat from the laptop, and the way you keep your legs close together to hold the laptop, can both result in unusually high scrotal temperatures.
When it comes to boxers or briefs, there is a debate regarding which ones are more fertility friendly. A study claimed that boxers can make a difference, while another study stated that it has no effect on fertility whatsoever. It does not matter if you are into boxers or briefs, just choose breathable fabric that fits perfectly on you.
- Focus on Getting a Normal, Healthy Weight
An effective way to improve your fertility level is to have a healthy body weight. Being both overweight and underweight can disturb the hormone balance, ultimately causing lower sperm counts. If you do not know if you have a healthy weight, then check your BMI (body mass index), which measures your weight along with your height.
In a scientific study on thin men, researchers discovered that men who are below 20 BMI had lower sperm levels and had about 28% lower sperm count in total. Moreover, they found out that the FSH (Follicle-stimulating hormone) was higher in thin men. In a different study, men who are overweight had much lower levels of testosterone. As their BMI went up, their sperm counts dropped down. To illustrate, the study discovered that men with a regular BMI, about 5.32% of them had low level of sperm fertility. About 9.52% in overweight men had low sperm counts, and 15.62% in obese men had low sperm counts.
- Limit Your Alcohol Intake
To put it simply, an excessive amount of alcohol in the body can lower the male fertility. A study conducted about alcoholics found that only 12% of these men were in good health and had normal sperm counts, in contrast to the 37% of men who were non-alcoholics and non-smokers. The study discovered that as the level of alcohol men consumed increases, their sperm counts are decreased, the sperm shape is reduced, and sperm motility worsens.
In a different study that focused on couples undergoing IVF treatment, researched showed for each additional alcohol drink a man consumed each day, the risk of failed conception was 2 to 8 times higher. This was exactly the case when the drinking took place during the period of IVF treatment.
Still, some research has revealed that there is no connection between sperm count and a few alcoholic drinks. So now, what do you do about it? Why not control your alcohol consumption to only a few times per week, and not every day. Then again, if you are having IVF treatment, it is best to stop drinking for now.
Acupuncture addresses the issues of low sperm motility, sperm morphology, and sperm count. The preparation for pregnancy can start several months before conception. If a couple follows a pre-conceptual healthcare program, which includes nutrition, reflexology, and fertility acupuncture for a minimum of 3 to 4 months prior to conception, all this can positively affect the health of the egg, sperm and reproductive results.
It is recommended for men to undergo fertility acupuncture and a sperm improvement program for at least a month for the reason that “spermatogenesis” is a continuous process and requires up to 72-74 days for the stem cells to develop into mature spermatozoa.