[green_box title=”Male Fertility – Supporting Sperm Health 101″ ][/green_box]
Most healthy men produce millions of new sperm every day. What you might not know is that when sperm are initially formed they lack the ability to swim forward or fertilize an egg and that these new sperm take about 2 ½ – 3 months to fully mature. It is during this time, and even before, that natural therapies can greatly benefit sperm health.
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Sperm are living cells! They are subject to whatever conditions the entire male body is exposed to throughout their maturation cycle. Some of the most damaging “things” to sperm health are:
- extreme temperatures, heat or cold
- exposure to toxins including xenohormones
- smoking including marijuana
- over-the-counter and recreational drug use, including marijuana
- poor diet
Men battling male factor infertility not only need to look at endocrine system health, but also work to increase the chances of conception by making lifestyle changes to impact healthy sperm production.
Couples struggling to conceive are likely to have a semen analysis which will include counting and looking at the sperm themselves (morphology), and how they move (motility). Morphology is the size and shape of the sperm. Normal sperm have a long tail that whips and an oval head. Abnormal sperm may have a misshapen head, two heads or a crooked, short or double tail. Motility is the ability of sperm to swim and project itself forward.
A Natural Approach to Supporting Sperm Health
1. Diet, Herbs and Antioxidants! Each are key for male fertility, just as they are for female fertility. Protect your cells by learning more about the Male Fertility Diet and antioxidants. Then learn more about the following:
- Tribulus (Tribulus Terrestris). Practitioners of TCM and Ayurveda have found Tribulus promotes improvements in sperm count, motility, and morphology when combined with dietary changes and exercise.
- CoQ10, of which low levels may lead to not only damaged DNA, but poor or decreased motility.
- Fo-Ti (Polygonum multiflorum) has been proven in studies to improve sperm count and motility.
- Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is known to nourish the endocrine system, and support healthy libido and erectile function, sperm quality, sperm count per ejaculation, and healthy sperm motility.
- L-Carnitine is a potent antioxidant known to support male fertility health, particularly sperm health in many ways, as shared in our guide 10 Ways L-Carnitine Boosts Sperm Health.
- Zinc, which supports healthy testosterone levels in men and sperm formation.
- Omegas/essential fatty acids are essential for sperm production, viability and overall health.
2. Have regular sex. Sexual abstinence causes sperm to be stored in the testes for longer periods of time, and become more exposed to oxidative stress. Tests show men who ejaculate more frequently have better sperm morphology.
On the flip side, for men with low sperm count and very poor sperm health, less frequent intercourse is best. Some sources say to try to ejaculate every other day, others say to abstain from sex for 2-3 days in a row. Talking to your doctor about what might be best for your situation and ensuring your wife/partner knows her fertile window (a window of 4-5 days each month) will help you proactively plan.
3. Try Acupuncture and Massage.
- Research shows acupuncture enhances sperm morphology and success rates in couples using technologies like intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
- Abdominal massage is known to support healthy circulation of both blood and lymph throughout the male abdomen and reproductive organs, to benefit prostate health, bladder, intestinal, testicular, and sperm health as well.
Knowledge is power!
If you and your partner have wanted to learn more about male fertility and how to support it naturally, I hope you found this helpful.