10 Top Lifestyle Tips to Improve Male Fertility
Published: January 2022
Medical research has shown that there are various factors which may contribute to low sperm count and infertility in men. We asked Dr Koita about lifestyle changes that can make a positive impact on male reproductive health which can increase your chances of conceiving naturally in just 3-6 months!
Key elements are to actively reduce exposure to toxins, free radicals and oxidative stress factors in your system by changing to and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Short-term changes can lead to improved overall sperm quality and will help to make you feel a lot better too!
Dr Koita’s 10 Top Tips for Improving Male Fertility
1. Don’t smoke
Men who smoke have a low sperm count and infertility, decreased sperm concentration, decreased motility (how sperm swim), fewer normally shaped sperm, and increased sperm DNA damage.
2. Limit Alcohol Intake
Drink no more than 5 units a week [wine, beer, spirits] if you can’t abstain but certainly no binge drinking.
3. Limit caffeine to <400mg a day
That’s about four or five cups a day. Research has shown regular drinking of large amounts of caffeine, be it coffee, tea or coke; can also impact the quality of sperm.
4. Avoid excessive heat
Sperm reproduction is very sensitive to overheating so avoid saunas and hot tubs and avoid placing your laptop on your lap. Continuous exposure to high temperatures can cause sperm production to be lower, or cause the production of abnormally shaped sperm cells resulting in infertility.
5. Reduce exposure to RF-EMR
Avoid keeping your mobile phone in your front trouser pocket and keep that laptop further away from your testicles.
One of the most vulnerable organs to the radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) is the testes. This is due to the fact that testicular tissues are more susceptible to oxidative stress due to a high rate of cell division and mitochondrial oxygen consumption. As a result of extensive cell proliferation, replication errors occur, resulting in DNA fragmentation in the sperm. The amount of RF-EMR exposure increases as we use an increasing number of actively transmitting Wi-Fi devices.
6. Watch your weight
Just six months of frequent exercise improves sperm quality, motility, morphology, concentration and volume. Strive for a healthy BMI which is between 18.5-24.9 indicating that you are at a healthy weight for your height. By maintaining a healthy weight, you lower your risk of developing serious health problems. A BMI of 25-29.9 indicates that you are slightly overweight.
7. Don’t use recreational drugs such as marijuana or cocaine.
Marijuana can linger in the testes for up to two weeks so even using it once every fortnight will have a negative impact on sperm health.
8. Make better nutritional choices
Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and fish. Try to avoid red meats, fried food, cheese and whole milk which are high in animal fat. Animal fats are associated with a higher risk of heart disease and prostate cancer. Red meats lower in animal fat include venison, veal, rabbit, pheasant and grass-fed beef. If you’re stuck, you can always revert to chicken, turkey and pork and always remember to remove any visible fat to reduce your cholesterol intake. Most supermarkets now also provide leaner options in their meat departments so look for the ‘5-20% Less Fat’ options.
9. Take Vitamins & Supplements
There is evidence that antioxidant vitamins and supplements may improve male fertility. Infertile men have a higher concentration of free radicals in their semen compared to fertile men. Extensive research in the last decade has led to the identification of free radicals (reactive oxygen species) as mediators of sperm dysfunction in both specific diagnoses and idiopathic cases of male infertility. Elevated levels of reactive oxygen species are seen in up to 30-80% of men with male infertility. Therefore, research confirms that excessive levels of ROS can negatively impact sperm quality.
To see the most benefit, Dr Koita recommends vitamins and supplements for men that can be taken to improve sperm health. Read more here.
10. Do not use drugs for hair loss
There has been increasing evidence in recent years that these medications (eg Finasteride) have a negative impact on male fertility by increasing reproductive toxicity. Use of certain drugs may cause a reversible decrease in your sperm concentration and motility. If you are trying to conceive, you might want to strongly consider stopping the treatment.
Seek emotional or psychological support
In recent years, male fertility support groups have been increasing in number since societal changes mean that it is no longer taboo to talk about male fertility issues. You’d be surprised how much support you can obtain from friends and family too.
Do not use saliva or over the counter lubricants. Studies have demonstrated that most commercially available or commonly used lubricants have a significant negative impact on sperm motility; the ability of the sperm to “swim” toward the egg. Some even suggest that lube has a “toxic” effect on sperm, incapacitating them, leading to DNA damage and even causing them to die. Saliva too is harmful to sperm owing to its acidity. Natural is best. You may use a small amount of fertility friendly lubes such as PreSeed or ConceivePlus which have been proven in laboratory research to not have a negative impact on sperm motility.
Still struggling after 6 months?
Every couple’s situation is unique. If you have made lifestyle changes and are still concerned about your fertility, talk with a fertility specialist for the best advice.
Contact IVF Matters: +44 (0) 333 93 999 51