Infertility. The most dreaded word a couple can hear when they are trying to conceive. We talk a lot about infertility, mostly from the women's perspective, but what most people ignore is that the male factor has been shown to be the underlying cause of infertility in 40% of couples who have difficulty getting pregnant. Infertility affects about one in every six couples, and researchers estimate about one in every three cases is due to fertility problems in the male partner alone.
WHAT IS MALE INFERTILITY?
Fertility refers to people's ability to reproduce by natural means, and male infertility is when a man has a poor chance of making his female partner pregnant. It usually depends on the quality of his sperm cells and his hormonal balance.
Infertility can have multiple causes and may depend on genetics, general health, fitness, diseases and dietary contaminants:
- Libido: Otherwise known as sex drive, libido describes a person's desire to have sex. Low-libido makes it more difficult for couples to conceive.
- Erectile dysfunction: Also known as impotence, erectile dysfunction is when a man is unable to develop or maintain an erection.
- Sperm count: An important aspect of semen quality is the number or concentration of sperm cells in a given amount of semen. Normal semen contains 40 million to 300 million sperm per milliliter. A low sperm count or oligospermia is considered to be anything between 10 and 20 million sperm per milliliter. Twenty million sperm per milliliter may be adequate for pregnancy if the sperm are healthy. Any number of things can lead to low sperm count, including previous medical problems, age, and your environment. Your lifestyle factors in, too, so if you smoke or use recreational drugs, they can affect your fertility.
- Sperm Quality: Also called sperm morphology. Even if you have a normal sperm count, they still have to be healthy enough to make the journey from your partner’s vagina to the cervix and uterus to the fallopian tubes. Normal sperm have egg-shaped heads and long tails. Sperm use these tails to “swim” to the egg. The more normal-shaped sperm you have, the easier it will be for them to reach your partner’s egg.
- Sperm motility: An essential function of healthy sperm cells is their ability to swim. Sperm motility is measured as the percentage of moving sperm cells in a sample of semen. Healthy sperm motility is defined as sperm with forward progressions of at least 25 micrometers per second. If a man has poor sperm mobility, it’s called asthenospermia or asthenozoospermia. There are different types of sperm motility issues, including: slow or sluggish progressive motility, non-progressive motility, which is defined as anything less than 5 micrometers per second and no mobility.
- Testosterone levels and hormonal balance: The precise balance of hormones in a man’s body determines the success of the male reproductive system. Male infertility can result if the body doesn’t produce enough testosterone or gonadotropins, which includes follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).
While infertility is not always treatable, it can sometimes be improved with a healthy diet, supplements and other lifestyle strategies.
TREATING MALE INFERTILITY: Nutrition, exercise, healthy lifestyle and supplements.
Some lifestyle changes may help increase sperm motility, and improve sperm quality and count for some men.
First of all, QUIT SMOKING. If you do smoke, you need to know that many studies have reported that the contents of cigarette smoke negatively affect sperm parameters, seminal plasma, and various other fertility factors. In April of 2016, European Urology published a meta-analysis on the effect of smoking on semen health. The analysis included 20 studies and just over 5,000 men across Europe. The study found that smoking was associated with decreased sperm count, decreased sperm motility, and poor sperm morphology.
Some studies have also found that the sperm of smokers has increased DNA fragmentation. DNA damaged sperm may lead to problems with fertilization, embryo development, embryo implantation, and increased miscarriage rates. Male smokers may also have abnormal hormone levels, which can affect fertility.
Second, DIET. What you eat matters. A LOT.
Nutrition plays a key role when it comes to treating infertility, and losing weight if you’re overweight is one of the single-most effective things you can do to increase sperm count.
Diet and lifestyle can affect both erections and sperm health. Certain diets, including those high in fat and animal protein, have been shown to hurt sperm health. High-sugar diets can lead to diabetes, a condition that is bad for sperm health, and erections. For some men, getting diabetes at an early age from poor eating habits can lead to long-term health consequences.
Which foods help promote male fertility? Most doctors recommend following a balanced, nutritious diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, that includes the following:
- Fruits and vegetables, especially those high in antioxidants (like blueberries, strawberries, artichokes, kale, red cabbage, beans and spinach).
- Lean animal proteins.
- Whole grains.
- Nuts and seeds. Eating a lot of antioxidant-rich foods, such as walnuts, seems to benefit fertility.
To safeguard your fertility, be careful with the following foods and drinks:
- Fat, sugar and animal protein. Excess fat, sugar and animal protein can hurt your fertility.
- Soy. High amounts of soy, which contains estrogen, can harm sperm function.
- Alcohol. Alcohol in high amounts is bad for fertility.
Next step, EXERCISE. Exercising not only improves your confidence and physical performance, but it may also raise your testosterone levels. Studies show that men who exercise regularly have higher testosterone levels and better semen quality than men who are inactive. Weightlifting and outdoor exercise can help sperm health more than other types of exercise. Consider incorporating these kinds of activities into your routine. Exercise can also help you maintain or lose weight, which may have additional benefits for your sperm health.
Let's talk about vitamins and SUPPLEMENTS. When it comes to male fertility, producing healthy sperm in the right amounts requires that the body have all the 'raw materials' it needs. Research has found that micronutrient intake affects male reproductive health. Some types of vitamins, including vitamins D, C, E, and CoQ10, are important for sperm health.
There are a few vitamins and herbs you should keep in your radar:
Tribulus terrestris, also known as puncturevine, is a medicinal herb frequently used to enhance male fertility. One study in men with low sperm counts showed that taking 6 grams of tribulus root daily for two months improved erectile function and libido. While Tribulus terrestris does not raise testosterone levels, research indicates that it may possibly enhance the libido-promoting effects of testosterone.
D-aspartic acid (D-AA) is a form of aspartic acid, a type of amino acid that's sold as a dietary supplement. D-AA is mainly present in certain glands, such as the testicles, as well as in semen and sperm cells. Researchers believe that D-AA is implicated in male fertility. In fact, D-AA levels are significantly lower in infertile men than fertile men.
Zinc is an essential mineral found in high amounts in animal foods, such as meat, fish, eggs and shellfish. Adequate zinc intake appears to be one of the cornerstones of male fertility. Observational studies show that low zinc status or deficiency is associated with low testosterone levels, poor sperm quality and an increased risk of male infertility. Furthermore, zinc supplements may reduce the decrease in testosterone levels that's associated with excessive amounts of high-intensity exercise.
Maca is rich in calcium and potassium, contains trace elements of iron, iodine, copper and manganese, as well as vitamins B1, B2, C, and D. Maca is also a complete protein, containing the nine essential amino acids that the body can’t produce on its own. It can increase sperm production, improve sperm quality, and promote stronger mobility, thereby enhancing fertility in men. It also improves brain function and exercise performance. Maca’s nutritional value and adaptogenic qualities that assist with hormone balancing and stress reduction, can also help to support your immune system.
Folate also play an important role in sperm formation and motility, and testosterone metabolism.
Luckily, there's a supplement that can get you all of that and more in just 2 capsules per day:
Our formula is rich in Maca, zinc, folate and other vitamins and minerals to provide multi-support for men. Zanapure Men's Fertility is expertly formulated to support your overall health, increase sexual function and libido, and to help normalize hormone levels with essential nutrients such as Vitamins B6, B12, D, C, Niacin, Riboflavin, Iodine, Selenium, Ashwagandha, Fenugreek extract, Tribulus Terrestris and Longjack extract.
Zanapure’s fertility vitamin contains the essential ingredients that have shown to impact men’s fertility like D-aspartic acid (D-AA) to increase testosterone, sperm count, and motility. Tribulus terrestris, Fenugreek, and Maca to support men’s performance and libido. Ashwagandha to support increased sperm count, volume, and motility for overall improved fertility, and necessary vitamins and minerals for reproductive health.
CLEAN + 100% NATURAL: Vegan, Organic, Hormone Free, Gluten Free, Non-GMO. No Soy, Grains, Nuts, Dairy, or Artificial Ingredients.
And last but not least RELAX AND MINIMIZE STRESS. Stress may reduce your sexual satisfaction and impair your fertility.
Researchers believe the hormone cortisol may partially explain these adverse effects of stress. Prolonged stress raises levels of cortisol, which has strong negative effects on testosterone. When cortisol goes up, testosterone levels tend to go down. Mild forms of stress can be alleviated by numerous relaxation techniques. Stress management can be as simple as taking a walk in nature, meditating, exercising, or spending time with friends.
If you’re more relaxed, it’ll be a lot easier to stop thinking about your fertility for a while and enjoy some quality time with your partner.
And don't forget, if you’ve been trying to have a baby and it’s just not happening, check with your doctor. Also, keep in mind that fertility and libido usually go hand in hand with your general health, so anything that improves your overall health is likely to boost your fertility at the same time.