Eight Ways to Improve Sperm Health
Sperm count refers to the average of total sperm present in one semen sample. Low sperm counts are usually assumed to be related to infertility, but there are men with low counts who have children. Just taking sperm count into consideration is not a good indicator of actual fertility because a sperm count does not tell you how well they can fertilize an egg.
At Utah Men’s Health, we also look at the motility (% of sperm with movement) and morphology (% of normal appearing sperm), the total number of sperm that are moving, and the integrity of sperm DNA. There are ways you can improve your overall sperm quality and we recommend that you:
- Eat a Nutritious Diet - There are many causes of infertility, but there is strong evidence that a good diet can improve sperm health. Sperm need key nutrients such as zinc, folate, and selenium to develop properly. We recommend you:
- Eat more lean protein such as fish and poultry, and cut out processed meat
- Increase your daily intake of vegetables and fruit (eat organic when possible)
- Limit saturated fat and substitute with healthy fats such as avocados and walnut
- Take a Multi-Vitamin and CoQ10 - Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant produced in the body and frequently consumed both in food and as a nutritional supplement. CoQ10 is beneficial for a variety of health conditions. In men with abnormal sperm parameters, it can improve both sperm integrity and sperm motility; thus, Coenzyme Q10 is a helpful therapy for men with asthenozoospermia, poor sperm motility, and/or poor sperm concentration. Coenzyme Q10 may also be beneficial in men with pyospermia, or an elevated number of white blood cells in the semen.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight - Men who are overweight and obese typically have lower testosterone levels, higher estrogen levels, and more difficulty attaining and maintaining erections. Being overweight and obese can also negatively impact sperm counts, decreasing a couple's potential fertility.
- Stay Active - The general recommendation is 30 minutes of aerobic activity, 5 days per week. Exercise also helps reduce stress!
- Stop Smoking Cigarettes and Marijuana, Discontinue Other Illicit Drugs - Male smokers can suffer decreased sperm quality with lower counts and motility, and increased numbers of abnormally shaped sperm. Smoking might also decrease the sperm's ability to fertilize eggs.
- Limit Alcohol - studies have shown heavy drinking can lower testosterone levels and raise estrogen levels, which can reduce sperm production.
- Avoid Exposure to Solvents and Other Chemicals - toxic chemical exposure has been linked to reduced sperm count and quality.
- Keep Your Testicles from Overheating - your testicles work best at a couple of degrees cooler than the rest of your body. Avoid time in hot tubs and saunas.
At Utah Men’s Health we have reproductive urologists who can further evaluate you. We do blood testing to look at your hormone levels, and can recommend medications to potentially improve hormone imbalances. We can also detect and fix physical issues such as obstructions and varicoceles. If you would like an evaluation please contact Utah Men’s Health today!