Problems with becoming pregnant seem to be increasing, especially as more couples are trying to become pregnant at a later stage in their lives.
Although most practical advice and emotional support with regard to infertility appear to be aimed at women, research has shown that male infertility plays an equal role in couples who are difficult to conceive.
Research suggests that in the US about one third of cases of infertility are caused by male fertility problems, and in the UK one in seven couples may have difficulty getting pregnant, which is about 3.5 million people.
It has been shown that around 84 percent of couples become naturally pregnant within a year if they regularly have unprotected sex (every two or three days).
Of the 100 couples in the United States, 12 to 13 have problems with becoming pregnant
Rob Hobson, a registered nutritionist for Healthspan, and medical nutritionist Dr. Sarah Brewer, watching the increase in male fertility
Is male infertility increasing?
In recent decades, sperm concentration has decreased by more than 50 percent with no evidence of “flattening,” according to a study by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2017).
This study analyzed the findings of 185 studies of nearly 43,000 men from North America, Europe, and Australia, which showed a significant decline in male reproductive health, although the researchers noted that more research is needed to investigate the reason for this decline. .
Can diet help with male fertility?
Exactly how lifestyle is linked to fertility in men is still a topic of discussion and active research, but studies suggest that nutrition can play an important role in terms of the nutrients collected, nutrients that cause damage and body weight.
Keep it cool under the belt
Heat exposure is one of the largest contributors to infertility in men because optimal sperm production is about 4 degrees lower than body temperature. Keep it cool under the belt:
- Showering instead of bathing
- Opt for non-synthetic boxer shorts over tight briefs
- Avoid using your laptop on your lap, as it can raise the scrotum temperature by almost 3 degrees in just 15 minutes
- Avoid extremely hot environments such as steam baths and saunas
The impact of dietary patterns, foods and nutrients on sperm quality and fertility (probability of becoming pregnant within a period of time) was investigated in a comprehensive overview of the available research until 2016.
This study, published in the journal Human Reproductive Update, showed that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, certain antioxidants (vitamin E, C, beta-carotene, selenium, zinc and lycopene), folate, vitamin D and low saturated fat associated was brought with better quality sperm.
Certain foods such as fish, crustaceans, poultry, grains, vegetables, fruit and low-fat dairy products also had a positive effect on sperm quality.
Conversely, in some cases a diet rich in processed meat, whole dairy products, coffee, alcohol and sugar was harmful to the quality of the sperm.
A high intake of alcohol, caffeine, red and processed meat by men was found to have a negative influence on the chance of pregnancy or fertilization with their partners.
Although there is limited evidence about the influence of diet on sperm quality, it appears that about 30-80% of cases of male infertility are caused by oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress occurs when the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) outweighs the availability of antioxidants required to neutralize the damage they cause. A high concentration of ROS in sperm cells can change their DNA and influence the motility, vitality and concentration of the sperm cells, which can influence fertility in men.
The most commonly considered factors that cause oxidative stress are lifestyle factors:
Smoking increases the level of ROS and at the same time lowers the body of antioxidants such as vitamin C. This bad habit can also stimulate inflammation in the body and increase the number of leukocytes (immune cells) in the testicles. Smoking can also affect impotence (nicotine impedes blood flow through small arteries such as those found in the penis).
The effect of excessive alcohol is that it can affect the shape of sperm and a heavy drink can wipe it out for a few months. The toxic product of alcohol degradation is called acetaldehyde, which interacts with fats and proteins to produce ROS.
This can increase ROS production and cause abnormal regulation of hormones that have been shown to adversely affect sperm quality. Obesity is also a risk factor for diabetes, which is a major cause of impotence.
Several studies have shown how stress can increase the level of ROS in sperm plasma, while also protecting against antioxidants. This balance will ultimately lead to a reduction in sperm quality.
Which foods can promote fertility in men?
1. Fruit and vegetables
These groups of foods are rich in nutrients such as vitamins C and A, polyphenols, magnesium, folic acid and fibers, which act as antioxidants in the body. Research has shown a direct link between the production of ROS in sperm cells and the intake of antioxidants, which help to reduce this damage by neutralizing them.
Folic acid found in green vegetables is believed to be essential in sperm production due to its role in DNA maintenance and protein synthesis. Fiber helps to reduce estrogen, low levels of which are essential for normal fertility in men. Oily fish is rich in the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA that play an important role in the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of enzymes.
2. Foods rich in zinc, selenium and vitamin C.
Zinc is found in foods such as meat, cheese, whole-grain cereals, and nuts. Inadequate intake of zinc in the diet is linked to a low sperm count and reduced testosterone levels. Men should strive to get 10 mg of zinc per day. Selenium is found in foods such as Brazil nuts, fish, poultry and eggs. This mineral is required for the normal production and development of sperm and men should strive to get 55mcg per day. Vitamin C is thought to help prevent sperm cells from clumping together (often with infertility) and men should strive to get 80 mg a day.
Food to avoid
1. Dairy products
The intake of dairy products in combination with the production of sperm is somewhat controversial, but the theory is that since about 75 percent of the milk we consume comes from pregnant cows, there may be a high level of naturally occurring estrogens, such as above mentioned could affect sperm production.
Although not fully proven, meat and meat products have been suggested to affect fertility in men through xenobiotics (mainly xenestrogens) used in the agricultural process. Excessive exposure to these compounds, which have estrogenic effects in the body, can play a role in the decline in sperm quality in men.
Excessive intake of sugary foods can lead to overweight and obesity, leading to insulin resistance that can negatively affect sperm quality due to inflammation and oxidative stress. Diets with a high sugar content can also lead to blood sugar imbalances that can affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis that affect sperm production.
Can supplements help with male fertility?
Supplements should never be considered a substitute for food, but not everyone eats a perfectly balanced diet all the time and this is where they can help to bridge any gaps in the diet.
A large overview of the evidence regarding the use of supplements and male fertility, published in the International Journal of Reproductive BioMedicine, concluded that in most studies antioxidant supplementation sperm number, motility, morphology and sometimes DNA integrity improved.
The combination of vitamins C, E and CoQ10 [co-enzyme Q10] was found to be effective in improving sperm parameters in infertile men.
Researchers have found a direct correlation between the number of sperm cells and the amount of ubiquinol coenzyme Q10 found in sperm fluid – the higher the level of coenzyme Q10, the higher the sperm count.
Zinc is also known to contribute to normal fertility and reproduction, since it helps to stabilize the enzymes in the sperm that are needed to drill a hole in the egg during fertilization.
Men who want to become pregnant may want to try supplementing their diet with a mixture that contains the essential nutrients associated with fertility, such as Healthspan Pregnapure Conception for Men.
The message to take home for every man trying to conceive is to prepare their bodies to optimize the quality of the sperm they produce by following a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy body weight and drinking and fags.
Supplementing the diet during this period can be a good way to ensure your intake of essential micronutrients related to fertility.
In some cases, intervention may be required if the sperm count is very low.
If you have problems getting pregnant, seek medical advice so that examinations and the need for necessary supported fertility treatments can be assessed.