Causes of Low Sperm Count
Diet & Supplements
Healthy Hormone Balance
Male Fertility Herbs
Low sperm count and infertility in men is more prevalent than most couples think. There is an equal chance that male factor infertility can be the cause of not getting pregnant as much as a fertility issue being with the woman. While women have many tests to undergo to try to find out the cause of infertility, men have only a couple, the sperm test being the easiest.
If you have been trying to get pregnant for more than a year, make sure that both of you should go and begin getting testing. There are at-home sperm count tests available in, or you can have a complete semen analysis performed at your doctor’s office.
The results of a good test would be a sperm count of 20 million or more sperm with healthy mobility, motility and morphology. Suboptimal levels are less than 20 million sperm. If you find that your sperm levels are low or are having issues with mobility, motility or morphology, this article will share with you some natural therapies you can use to help improve sperm count and health.
Causes of Low Sperm Count
The causes of low sperm count and male infertility are many, but a many of them we do have control over and you can reduce your exposure to them.
Here is a list of the top culprits which many have been shown through studies to be the cause of low sperm count and male infertility.
- EMF’s – Electromagnetic frequencies (EMF’s) have been shown through studies to lower sperm count due to the heating of the testicles from the EMF’s. Do not keep your cell phone in your pocket and do not place your laptop computer on your lap.
- Cigarette smoking – Smoking damages the sperm. Period. The good news is the damage done from smoking can be reversed… As long as you quit smoking.
- Pesticides and hormones in foods – The pesticides found on produce and the hormones added to the dairy and meat have a HUGE effect on men’s hormonal balance. Pesticides mimic estrogens in the body while the added hormones to meat and dairy are actual hormones (like estrogen) you do not want in your system.
- Soy foods – Soy foods mimic estrogens in the body also. As a man these xenohormones can match up with the receptor sites that testosterone is supposed to go. And create hormonal havoc.
- Alcohol- In a study of men with poor sperm quality, excessive alcohol consumption was associated with decrease in the number of normal sperm.
- Plastics – When plastics are heated they release xenohormones which mimic estrogen in the body.
- Briefs/ boxers – The testicles need to keep the sperm at a healthy temperature (which is less then the bodies temperature). Tight underwear like briefs can keep the testicles from being able to hang and regulate there temperature. (Plus women like boxers on men more anyways)
- Hot tubs/ bike riding – This again is to help keep the integrity of the sperm by allowing the testicles to regulate the temperature.
- Stress – Stress can have a big impact on hormonal balance which can have an affect on sperm production.
Diet & Nutrients for Healthy Male Fertility
Diet has a big impact on sperm health and male fertility. What you are eating today is impacting the sperm that will be swimming 3 months from now.
Study findings show a range of 42 to 76 days from the time of sperm production to ejaculation in normal men.
So the changes that you make today are impacting the sperm you will be using two to three months from now. So that is the amount of time it will take for diet, herbs and supplements to have an effect.
Here are the nutrients specifically needed for healthy male fertility diet, they should be added to the diet as well as supplemented:
In men zinc is considered one of the most important trace minerals to date for male fertility; increasing zinc levels in infertile men has been shown to boost sperm levels; improve the form, function and quality of male sperm and decrease male infertility.
Food sources: Calf liver, oysters, beef, lamb, venison, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, turkey, green peas, shrimp. Zinc can be damaged by cooking so it is important to eat some foods high in zinc in their raw forms.
Selenium is necessary for the creation of sperm. In studies men with low sperm counts have also been found to have low levels of selenium.
Food sources: Brazil nuts, liver, snapper, cod, halibut, tuna, salmon, sardines, shrimp, crimini mushrooms, turkey
Necessary for every cell in the body for energy production, CoQ10 has also been shown in studies to increase sperm health. It is also necessary for sperm motility in semen. It is an important antioxidant that helps to protect cells from free radical damage, protecting DNA.
Food sources: Found most abundantly in seafood and organ meats, though it is very difficult to obtain through the diet. CoQ10 Ubiquinol supplementation is the best way to obtain CoQ10. Amounts in the body decline with age.
Has been shown in studies to improve sperm health and motility in men. Studies have shown a diet deficient in Vitamin E to be a cause of infertility in rats. The meaning of the name for vitamin E ‘Tocopherol’ literally means to bear young. Vitamin E is also an important antioxidant to help protect sperm and egg DNA integrity.
Food sources: Sunflower seeds, almonds, olives, spinach, papaya, dark leafy greens.
Folic acid – New research suggests that folic acid can boost sperm health. Men with low levels of folate had increased risks for sperm that contained too little or too many chromosomes. If an egg is fertilized with one of these abnormal sperm it could result in a birth defect such as downs syndrome, or an increase in miscarriage.
Food sources: liver, lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, asparagus, spinach, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, collard greens
B12- Has been shown to increase sperm counts.
Food sources: Clams, oysters, muscles, liver, caviar (fish eggs), fish, crab, lobster, beef, lamb, cheese, eggs.
For men, vitamin C has been shown to improve sperm quality and protect sperm from DNA damage; helping to reduce the chance of miscarriage and chromosomal problems. Vitamin C also appears to keep sperm from clumping together, making them more motile.
Food sources: Abundant in plants and fruits including red peppers, broccoli, cranberries, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, and citrus fruit.
L-Carnitine – It is a necessary nutrient for sperm cells to function normally. In studies supplementing with L-carnitine helps to normalize sperm motility in men with low sperm quality.
Antioxidants – Antioxidants are one of the most important components to having healthy fertility that every man and women needs to focus on. Antioxidants help to protect the sperm from free radical damage. Free radicals are able to damage both sperm cell health and the cell’s DNA. The DNA of both partners is the future blueprint for a child. Damaged DNA is known to cause miscarriages or birth defects/developmental problems for the future child. Studies have also shown a connection between oxidative stress caused from free radicals and male infertility. Network Antioxidants was created by Dr. Lester Packer, the leading antioxidant expert in the United States. It contains all of the most important antioxidant nutrients in a capsule form which you can take one capsule, twice a day. This blend is great for both men and women and should be a part of everyone’s health program, especially for sperm health.
Hormone imbalance is not just something that is reserved for women only. Men can also have imbalanced hormones. Hormones play a large roll in semen production and men’s fertility. One of the main hormones being testosterone. Due to our modern lifestyles and many of the culprits mentioned above, men’s hormones can become imbalanced.
There are pollutants that “mimic” estrogens (xenohormones) in the body which means less testosterone. Excess estrogen in men produces erectile dysfunction, low/lack libido, low sperm count, and lowered production of seminal fluid.
These xenohormones can come from:
- soy foods
- pesticides on food
- hormones added to dairy and meat
5 steps to balancing your hormones:
1. Reduce your exposure to xenohormones
2. Eat only organic meats and dairy
3. Do not eat soy foods.
4. Cleanse the body of excess hormones and toxins. This can be done with a Male Fertility Cleanse
5. Eat lots of fiber and cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables contain a special element that helps the body to rid itself of excess estrogens. You can also take the supplement DIM to have the same effects.
Herbs for Male Fertility & Sperm HealthThese traditional herbal tonics have been shown through studies and hundreds of years of use to help men have healthier sperm and increased fertility.
Most of these herbs are adaptogen which help to nourish the endocrine system so all of the hormones are working properly. For best results use these herbs for at least 3 – 6 months.
American Ginseng root (Panax quinquefolius)
American Ginseng may support healthy sex drive, erectile dysfunction and enhance sexual performance in men. Strengthens the HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) axis, aiding hormonal balance, stress management, immune function.
Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera)
Traditionally used to improve sex drive and low sperm count. Supports overall endocrine system function for overall hormonal balance.
Epimedium, also known as horny goat weed (Epimedium grandiflorum)
Aphrodisiac, increase in sexual desire and performance. The active ingredient Icariin has been shown to increase nitric oxide; increasing circulation to the extremities. Has been shown useful in aiding sustained erection.
Fo-ti, also known as Ho Shou Wu or He Shou Wu, root (Polygonum multiflorum)
Fo Ti has been traditionally used for men who have low libido, low sperm count, erectile dysfunction and poor sperm motility. Supports fertility longevity.
Ginkgo leaves (Ginkgo biloba)
#1 remedy for erectile dysfunction, increases circulation and is high in antioxidants.
Goji berry, dried fruit (Lycium barbarum,L.chinense)
Goji berries protect sperm from hyperthermia (overheating), increasing hormone levels, sperm quantity and quality through its high antioxidant content. Goji berries support hormonal balance through improved liver function support. Extremely nutritious as well.
Maca root (Lepidium meyenii)
Men who use maca have been seen to have an increased libido and healthy sperm. Increase seminal volume, sperm count per ejaculate, and sperm motility. Maca is wonderful superfood which can be taken in capsules or added to fertility smoothies in powder form.
Saw Palmetto berries (Serenoa repens)
Traditionally use for improving prostate health, impotence, testicular atrophy and improved sex drive in men.
Schisandra fruit and seed (Schisandra chinensis)
Supportive and protective of liver health. Shown to support immunity, endocrine and nervous system function. Studies have shown may increase in sperm count. Aids stress related infertility.
Tribulus, aerial parts and fruit (Tribulus terrestris)
Shown to be effective in aiding sex hormone production, increase in LH and testosterone in men. Tribulus may help to increase in sperm count, motility, and health.
Yohimbe bark (Pausinystalia yohimbe)
Supports healthy circulation to the male reproductive organs. Yohimbe has been shown to help sustain erection and may help to make erection firmer. This herb also supports healthy libido.
Have Sex at The Right Time
There is a right time to have sex to optimize your chances of conception and to give sperm an extra boost.
Here are some fertility/sex tips:
- Know her cycle – Know when she is ovulating. Become interested in knowing the timing of her fertility cycle. If she does not know, find out when her period is. Roughly 12 -14 days after the first day of her period is when she may ovulate. This is a rough estimate because women are all different in there cycles. Some other signs that she is ovulating is she is way more interested in sex and she has some cervical mucous equivalent to egg whites. You can learn more about fertility charting here.
- Timing is everything. You will not want to have sex 2 -3 days before ovulation so that your sperm supply is built up.
- Use sperm friendly lubrication.
- Don’t have sex standing up. This makes it harder for the sperm to reach the cervix.
If you are experiencing low sperm count there are many natural therapies that have been shown to increase sperm count and health. Here is a summary of steps you can take to increase your sperm health:
- 1. Get a sperm analysis done.
2. Reduce and/or eliminate exposure to EMF’s, pesticides, cigarette smoke, soy foods. alcohol, plastics, briefs, hot tubs, bike riding and reduce stress.
3. Eat a diet and take supplements rich in nutrients specific for sperm and male reproductive health. These nutrients are zinc, selenium, CoQ10, vitamin E, folic acid, B12, L-Carnatine, and a wide range of antioxidants.
4. Support male hormonal balance and use supportive herbs.
5. Time baby making sex at the right time.