Stress. Lack of sleep or exercise. Toxic chemicals and pesticides. There are many factors that can affect sperm count. Additionally, alarming studies have concluded that sperm count has dropped by almost 60% since the 1970s in Western countries.
Fortunately, there are certain things that you can do to boost male fertility. Whether you’re trying to conceive or you want to donate sperm to help a single woman or a couple have a baby, read on to discover 14 efficient ways to increase sperm count.
1. Exercise regularly
Not only is being active a fantastic way to stay healthy, it is also great for boosting sperm count. Whether you need to lose weight or not, make sure to exercise regularly. It appears that outdoors exercises are also particularly beneficial where sperm concentration is concerned. Baseball, tennis, golf or running – the choice is up to you!
2. But don’t cycle too much
Biking more than five hours a week may affect your sperm count. If you’re trying to conceive or considering donating sperm, you may want to find another mode of transportation or form of exercise for the moment.
3. Lose weight
Being obese or overweight has a negative impact on your fertility hormones, which in turn affects your chances of having a baby. Losing weight (even just a few pounds) has shown to increase sperm concentration, as well as motility and volume.
Don’t hesitate to ask for your doctor’s advice. Moreover, paying a visit to a nutritionist could help you to maintain a healthy diet. Exercising is also essential for losing weight. Why not solicit the help of a sports or weight loss coach?
4. Keep it cool
Testicles should be kept at an ideal temperature of 34.5 degrees Celsius. This is below normal body temperature (37°C). Frequent warm baths, tight underwear and jeans (as well as placing your laptop on your lap) are all known to reduce sperm count. To keep your sperm healthy and at the right temperature, opt instead for loose boxers and less warm showers.
Stress affects male fertility too, particularly sperm health. In fact, when we are under lots of stress, our body can have a strong reaction and stop sperm production completely. To reduce stress, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, trying meditation or other relaxation techniques may all help. Additionally, getting enough sleep can reduce stress levels and improve fertility.
6. Quit smoking
Your mom already told you: smoking is bad for your health. What you may not know is that tobacco (as well as marijuana) can significantly reduce sperm count and motility. There are many methods that can help you to quit, but it’s a good idea to get advice from your doctor first.
7. Reduce or stop your consumption of alcohol
According to studies, drinking two or more glasses of alcohol per day affects fertility and, therefore, sperm count. If you have trouble reducing your consumption, pay a visit to your doctor.
8. Avoid certain medications
Some medications seem to affect male fertility and reduce sperm concentration. These include anti-inflammatories (Ibuprofen), hay fever tablets, antipsychotics, corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, methadone and some antibiotics. Make sure you have a chat with your doctor about this before making any decisions.
9. Avoid endocrine disruptors
Have you heard of endocrine disruptors? These are chemicals that may have negative effects on endocrine glands and hormones (thyroid hormones, estrogen, and androgen). As a result, these chemicals affect both female and male fertility.
They may be found in many man-made products that we use every day, including cosmetics (shampoo, hair gel, deodorant or perfume); pesticides; plastic bottles; metal food cans; flame retardants; household cleaning products as well as chemicals found in vehicles, textiles, and electronics. They are everywhere!
Next time you go shopping, try to opt instead for chemical-free and natural products as often as you can, whether these are for cleaning, gardening or preparing food.
10. Increase your intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
Certain vitamins and minerals are proven excellent and beneficial to sperm count, especially those acting as antioxidants (which are molecules that protects you from the oxidation of other molecules).
One of them is vitamin C. Taking 1,000 mg of this vitamin daily may improve sperm concentration and mobility, therefore increasing your chances of conception. Nevertheless, this doesn’t seem to improve overall sperm count.
Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to less successful rates of pregnancy. Make sure you get enough vitamin D by enjoying sunlight or taking supplements. Eat also foods rich in zinc, folate, selenium, calcium, vitamin E, glutathione, I-carnitine and coenzyme Q10 to improve sperm quality.
11. Eat these foods to increase sperm count
Having a healthy and balanced diet plays a crucial role in boosting fertility. Moreover, in addition to taking supplements, you can include certain foods in your diet that contain nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants, all of which have an incredible effect on your sperm count.
Foods that boost fertility include ginseng, walnuts, peanuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds as well as whole wheat and grains. Eat also fruits such as cranberries, apricots and banana, as well as plenty of vegetables, particularly garlic, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, and leafy greens.
Fish such as cod, salmon, haddock and shellfish (particularly oysters, for their zinc) are also considered to improve sperm count. Opt also for vitamin D enhanced milk and dairy products, and devour dark chocolate for it’s antioxidant properties.
12. Prioritize healthy fats over trans fatty acids
Certain fats are better than others. The “good” and healthy ones are the polyunsaturated fats. In fact, many studies have shown that not only are these fats amazing for keeping us healthy, they are also great for sperm development. Try to incorporate omega-3 into your diet, to maximize the quality of your sperm.
On the other hand, trans fatty acids are linked to low sperm count and may damage sperm development.
13. Avoid Soy
Soy contains phytoestrogens (plant estrogen), which may reduce testosterone levels and, consequently, sperm production. Additionally, certain plastic and canned items also contain forms of estrogen, which may cause the same damage as phytoestrogens.
14. Try these supplements
Fenugreek is a plant whose seeds are used to boost sperm health. A recent study has found that this plant may also improve sperm count and quality.
Ashwagandha (aka Indian ginseng) is also used to treat certain types of sexual dysfunction. It may also increase sperm count.