Not All Swimmers Are Made The Same
October 19th, 2018
When it comes to male fertility, plentiful, strong, fast moving, straight swimming sperm win the race!
In Canada, approximately 16% of couples suffer with infertility, 30% of which are due to male infertility. As well, 30-40% of early miscarriages are due to genetic abnormalities related to sperm defects. The focus of infertility treatment tends to be concentrated on women, however the goal of having a healthy baby is equally dependent on both egg and sperm quality.
So what’s a man to do? Lifestyle factors can play a big part in improving sperm quality and quantity. If you’ve had semen analysis results that are less than optimal, take a critical look at your diet, lifestyle and exposure to toxic substances. Making changes over a 3 month period can make a significant difference in your reproductive health.
Here are a few things to consider….
Keep them cool! Testicles hang outside of the body for a reason. Sperm production is best at a cooler temperature, so avoid excessive heat to the testicles. That means avoiding hot tubs, saunas, long drives with heated seats, hot yoga and obesity (fat insulates).
Give them space! Squishing your testicles against your body will increase the temperature in
the scrotum and reduce circulation. Avoid tight fitting pants, sitting for extended periods of time
and long bike rides.
Limit your exposure to toxins. Cigarette smoking is a big factor in low sperm counts, low motility (how well the sperm swim), and poor morphology (how sperm are shaped). Quit smoking if you can (easier said than done but worth it), or at least dramatically reduce how much you smoke if you’re a moderate to heavy smoker.
Avoid recreational drugs and limit alcohol (no binge drinking!)
If you’re regularly exposed (i.e workplace) to toxic chemicals, paints, solvents, radiation, exhaust fumes etc., protect yourself and look for ways to limit your exposure.
Feed your sperm! A healthy body is the best way to create healthy sperm. Eat a wide variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and healthy fats. It’s best to avoid overly processed and deep fried foods. Certain nutrients are known to help with sperm production, such as antioxidants (vitamins E and C), zinc, selenium, vitamin D, and L-Carnitine to name a few. There are many good supplements for male fertility on the market.
Exercise your sperm! Well, exercise your body to improve your overall health and pump more blood around your body, including your testicles.
Get acupuncture! Don’t worry no needle and testicle shall meet! Acupuncture (and in many cases herbs) have been shown to benefit sperm production and quality. A usual treatment course is 10-12 acupuncture treatments in 6-12 weeks. Here’s some research https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0015028205005911
For more information about male infertility and acupuncture contact me at Chinese Medicine Peterborough. www.chinesemedicineptbo.com
Amy Lipsett, R.Ac, R.TCMP, FABORM
Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine
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