It takes 100 days for sperm to develop (74 to form and 20-30 to mature), therefore addressing sperm health concerns 100 days before conception is important.
Three main factors make up 'good sperm':
- Sperm count (more than 20 million per milliliter of ejaculate)
- Morphology (shape of the sperm)
- Motility (how fast and straight the sperm swim)
Things to start today:
- eat healthy, take a multivitamin/trace mineral.
- talk to a natural healthcare provider and do a liver detox.
- learn coping techniques for stress and incorporate them into your every day (meditation, stretching, reading, breathing, qigong, tai qi).
- get weekly acupuncture treatments to promote general health, reduce stress, and ensure smooth energy & blood flow throughout the body.
- stay active, take the stairs, walk or cycle to work, go swimming, hit the gym (not too hard).
- make a commitment to engaging in and enjoying regular sex with your partner.
- stop smoking, cut down on alcohol, avoid drug intake (of all types), and keep it to 1 or 2 cups of coffee in the morning only.
- drink more water, semen is made mostly of water (your whole body is 70% water).
Things to Avoid:
The body is 98.6 degrees fahrenheit. Sperm functions best at 86 degrees farhrenheit.
Long distance driving or sitting, hot baths, saunas, hot tubs, tight fitting underwear, and athletic support straps, all can raise the temperature of the scrotum, thus 'cooking' the sperm.
Blood gets routed by all means to vital organs for survival such as the lungs, heart, and brain in times of stress. Obviously the testes are malnourished when the body is under constant stress.
Take a breath, if you stop now, most damage done by drinking will be repaired naturally.
Alcohol interferes with the secretion of testosterone, speeds up the conversion of testosterone into estrogen, lowers sperm count and sex drive.
The breakdown product of alcohol in the body is acetaldehyde, which is toxic to sperm.
Smoking and Male Fertility
Smoking increases the number of free radicals in the body which do damage to many cells. It reduces sperm count and motility, and increases the number of abnormally shaped sperm.
Free radicals that are said to be responsible for 40 percent of sperm damage can be battled with antioxidants such as vitamin C, E, beta-carotene, selenium, zinc, blackberries, blueberries, garlic, kale, strawberries, brussel sprouts, plums, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, red peppers, grape seed extract, and pine bark extract.
Aside from the many prescription drugs that effect fertility, the chemical ingredient in Marijuana is very closely related to testosterone, therefore the body will produce less of the male hormone. It builds up in the testes lowering libido, causing impotence, and sometimes sexual anxiety. The effects of cocaine are similar in some aspects.
May impair sperm production, cause chromosomal abnormalities, and affect sperm motility.
Hernia surgery, tubule infection, chlamydia, or mumps may affect sperm count. Diabetes can also have detrimental effects on male fertility.
Yes, it is good for you, although, excessive amounts that punish the body may lower sperm count and temporarily reduce testosterone production.
Toxins and Pollutants
Pesticides and heavy metals are terrible for sperm. Since the start of the use of pesticides since World War II, male sperm counts have plummeted. Note: pesticides are designed to disrupt the reproductive cycle of the insect, fungus, or weed it is trying to kill! I think there may be a correlation here. Eat Organic! Also watch exposure to X-rays, solvents, paint products, and toxic metals.
The meat we eat is filled with hormones, unless it is organic. Estrogens are now found in our drinking water. Plastics also give off estrogens. Do not microwave plastic, and try to drink from glass containers. If you are drinking water from a plastic bottle, try to limit its exposure to the sun.
Sperm Diet & Nutrition
Free radicals (which float around the body and damage other cells) are said to be responsible for 40 percent of sperm damage can be battled with antioxidants such as vitamin C, E, beta-carotene, selenium, zinc, blackberries, blueberries, garlic, kale, strawberries, brussel sprouts, plums, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, red peppers, grape seed extract, and pine bark extract. Certain nutrients are quite important to the healthy production of sperm. The following are a list of those nutrients, foods sources of them, and the recommended nutritional intake (RNI).
The building blocks of life. Necessary for egg and sperm production. Some healthcare practitioners will prescribe amino acids such as L-arginine to enhance fertility. Do not take L-arginine if you have the herpes virus, it may cause an outbreak.
Sources: protein foods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, lentils, peas, beans, nuts, brown rice, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and quinoa.
Dosage: 500 mg per day of L-arginine
Essential for the production of male sex hormones. It has antioxidant qualities which protects cells against damage from free radicals in the body. It also is important for the upkeep of the seminiferous tubules.
A deficiency is shown to reduce sperm volume and count, and increase abnormal sperm.
Sources: eggs, yellow fruits and vegetables, whole milk and milk products, dark green leafy veggies, and fish oils.
Dosage: RDA 700 mcg per day. Take with foods that contain fat or oil, as well as with vitamin C, E, and zinc.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
Together with zinc, B6 is essential for the formation of male sex hormones. A deficiency causes infertility in animals.
Sources: molasses, brewer's yeast, whole grains, nuts, brown rice, organ and other meats, egg yolks, fish, poultry, legumes, seeds, and green leafy veggies.
Dosage: RNI 1.4 mg per day, but up to 50 mg may be used per day.
Note: Zinc is needed for its absorption.
Folate and B12 are needed for the synthesis of DNA and RNA. These make up the blueprint for the genetic code of the entire body. Low levels can cause abnormal sperm production, reduced sperm counts, and reduced motility. even if your count is only on the low side, supplement with B12.
Sources: lamb, sardines, salmon, fermented foods that contain bacteria. Calcium aids in its absorption.
Dosage: RNI from 1.5 mcg per day.
Folate (folic acid)
Needed for sperm production, count, motility, and low morphological abnormalities. Vitamin C aids in absorption.
Sources: dark green leafy veggies, broccoli, organ meats, brewer's yeast, root vegetables, whole grains, oysters, salmon, milk, legumes, asparagus, oatmeal, dried figs, and avocados.
Dosage: RNI 200-400 mcg per day
An antioxidant that prevents damage from free radicals. It is needed for the healthy production of sperm. Low vitamin C levels have been linked with an increase in birth defects. It can increase count and motility of sperm. It is also shown to reduce clumping of sperm.
Sources: citrus fruits, rosehips, cherries, sprouted alfalfa seeds, cantaloupe, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet peppers, black currants, mangos, grapes, kiwi fruit, pineapples, asparagus, peas, potatoes, parsley, watercress, and spinach.
Dosage: 500-1000 mg per day.
Rats fed a diet free of vitamin e cannot reproduce. It also is an antioxidant. It may also help the sperm penetrate the egg. Deficiency leads to a degeneration of testicular tissues. Vitamin E has anticoagulant properties, so caution if taking blood thinners.
Sources: cold pressed oils, wheat germ, organ meats, molasses, eggs, sweet potatoes, leafy veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and avocados.
Dosage: >4 mg
Deficiency may cause infertility. It is needed to properly shape sperm and to maintain count. It may have a key role in the functioning of the epididymis. It is an antioxidant which protects the cells in the sperm that have a high fat content.
Sources: tuna, herring, brewer's yeast, wheat germ and bran, whole grains, and sesame seeds.
Dosage: RNI 75 mcg per day
Manganese competes with iron for absorption. It is advisable to take manganese supplements with protein foods and vitamin C. Deficiency may cause testicular degeneration, congenital malformations, sterility, low sex drive, low sperm count, and an increase in the number of cells that degenerate in the epididymis. Deficiency may also inhibit the synthesis of sex hormones.
Sources: whole grains, green leafy veggies, carrots, broccoli, ginger, legumes, nuts, pineapples, eggs, oats, and rye.
Dosage: RNI 1.4 mg per day