Holistic strategies for boosting sperm count
Many men don’t give their sperm count a second thought unless they find themselves facing fertility challenges. For couples trying to conceive, those little swimmers play a crucial role. Fertility declines with age in males just as it does in females, but there are fewer heroic medical interventions available to men with fertility issues.
Fortunately, it’s possible to boost sperm production naturally by adjusting diet and lifestyle. Fertility is a reflection of overall health, and from an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that a healthy body would be a better reproductive unit than an unhealthy one.
The sperm production cycle takes three months to complete, so it takes a minimum of 3-6 months of consistent lifestyle changes in order to naturally affect sperm count. But as the body becomes well-nourished and vitality is restored, virility usually follows suit.
THE FOLLOWING STRATEGIES CAN INCREASE SPERM NUMBERS WHILE IMPROVING OVERALL HEALTH.
FOOD: Eat a healthy diet that emphasizes whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, meats raised without hormones or antibiotics, and naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, and traditional sourdough breads. Limit sugars, white flour, and refined or processed foods with added chemicals and preservatives. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
BAD HABITS: Quit smoking and drinking alcohol. Numerous studies have shown that smoking is correlated with a decrease in semen volume, sperm motility and sperm viability, while embryos fertilized by smokers have a lower implantation rate. Both tobacco and marijuana smoke can harm fertility. Alcohol consumption can also damage sperm, and drinking reduces fertility in men because the stress on the liver increases estrogen levels.
TEMPERATURE: Keep the boys cool. For optimal sperm production, the testes need a temperature about 3 degrees Celsius lower than the core temperature of the body. Consistent exposure to heat, for instance in hot tubs and saunas, can interfere with the scrotum’s natural ability to maintain these necessary lower temperatures. Laptops may cause a similar problem because of the heat of the device on the lap, as well as remaining seated with your legs close together for long periods of time.
ENVIRONMENT: Limit exposure to household and industrial chemicals. Researchers in various countries have pointed to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the environment, such as those found in pesticides, plastics, defoliants, oils, and cleaning agents. Many of these chemicals mimic estrogen, which is naturally present in the male body in small quantities, but can disrupt testosterone and sperm production when absorbed in larger quantities. Heavy metals, solvents, and certain cosmetics also disrupt the body’s hormone balance. Use protective measures to limit exposure to toxins in the workplace and ensure that chemicals are stored and disposed of correctly. Around the house, try using non-toxic and enzyme-based household cleaners, replacing yard pesticides with organic alternatives, and avoiding plastic food wrap and packaging, especially when heating foods.
CLINICAL: Get screened for underlying endocrine issues, particularly thyroid dysfunction. The thyroid gland regulates the body’s metabolism, and if it’s not functioning correctly, it can throw a whole bunch of the body’s systems off-kilter, including reproduction. Undiagnosed thyroid issues are a major contributor to many unexplained cases of infertility. Thyroid dysfunction can be present even when blood tests are normal, so it’s important to be assessed clinically by a doctor, naturopath or qualified health practitioner who is familiar with thyroid diagnoses.
RADIATION: Keep your cell phone out of your pants. Recent research has shown that exposure to mobile phone radiation reduces sperm mobility and increases the proportion of deformed sperm. To reduce this risk, carry your cell phone in a bag or briefcase. If you need to have your cell phone close at hand, consider an arm holster instead of a belt holster. Use a landline phone where possible and don’t make a habit of sleeping with your cell phone next to your bed, so leave it in another room overnight instead.