Research studies suggest that, unlike women who are born with a fixed number of eggs (oocytes), men continue to produce sperms throughout life, which means that they can potentially reproduce well into old age. But the quality of the sperm, men produce seems to decline as they get older.
Why is Sperm Health Important?
There is plenty of good information about how women can improve their chances of having a perfect pregnancy and a healthy baby. But what about fathers to be? Well, research now shows that the father’s age and his sperm health at the time of conception also affect the chance of his partner getting pregnant and the future health of their baby. Most men do not give much importance to the quality of their sperm until it is time to start a family.
But there is a lot you can do before that, to increase the chance of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Men need large numbers of good quality sperms that move well, to fertilize the woman’s egg.
For about a third of all couples having trouble getting pregnant naturally, the problem is with the man’s sperm, his erections, or with the tubes the sperm move through.
What is Healthy Sperm?
Semen is an organic fluid synthesized predominantly in testis and produced during sexual contact. 8-10 ml of Semen contains about 4.5 – 5.5 million of sperm cells among which one single, healthy, and strongest sperm enters into the egg (oocyte). The term ‘Healthy Sperm’ refers to all aspects of sperm quality ie proper morphology, motility, and quantity of sperm cells that are produced.
What Effects Sperm Health?
Infertility is not just a woman’s problem. One-third of the time, a male factor is identified as the cause of infertility. Having healthy sperm is important, but sperm health goes beyond just conceiving. Sperm quality also plays a role in the health of the overall pregnancy and health of the baby.
There are many factors which cause damage to sperm health, some of which are listed below.
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Increased body heat
- Using steroids
- Wearing tight jeans
- Improper reproductive hygiene
- Physical injury to reproductive and genital organs
How are Environmental Factors Affecting My Sperm Health?
Environmental toxins are a part of daily life and in some work environments, we are exposed to many toxic substances and pollutants. Some of these can affect a man’s sperm quality, his fertility, and potentially his future children’s health and development.
Environmental factors that are known to have a detrimental effect on reproductive health include pesticides, heavy metals, some chemicals, harmful plastics, radiation, narcotic drugs, and anabolic steroids. If you and your partner plan to have a baby, talk to your doctor about how you can avoid exposure to substances that might affect your reproductive health.
What can I do to Improve My Sperm Health?
- Avoiding regular or too frequent hot baths or spas to keep your scrotal temperature normal. Nature has designed the testes to be outside the body so that the temperature is a degree lesser and is ideal for sperm generation.
- Keep your laptop and mobile phone away from your lap. Radiation is an unseen killer of cells.
- Maintain a healthy weight and avoid becoming overweight.
- Wearing loose-fitting rather than tight underwear and jeans (To achieve a lower temperature).
- Regular exercise routine.
- Eating healthier.
- Restrict/avoid smoke and recreational drugs.
- Restrict alcohol consumption.
- Avoid exposure to chemicals at home and at work.
Role of Minerals in Maintaining Healthy Sperm
You are what you eat and so are your sperm. There are both good and bad nutrients to consider in keeping sperm healthy. Eating a regular diet consisting of processed meats, sweets, snacks, and junk food will adversely affect sperm health.
A diet higher in chicken, fish, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, will provide the necessary nutrients. Go light on the processed stuff and eat more lean meats and whole foods.
- Vitamin B-12: This potent vitamin is found in meat, fish, and dairy. It has all sorts of good effects on your body. Among other things, vitamin B-12 protects your sperm from inflammation and oxidative stress caused by harmful free radicals in your body. If you are not sure or unable to get adequate nutrients into your diet, there is no harm in taking good and genuine supplements.
- Vitamin C: Eating more oranges, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, and spinach can all contribute to a higher sperm count. In some cases, it can even double after a couple of months.
- Nuts: Nuts have long been associated with benefiting sexual health, and research evidence suggests that a diet high in almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts over a 14-week period increased sperm count by up to 16 percent.
- Lycopene: Lycopene gives the rich red color to foods like tomatoes and watermelons. It can reduce harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) in your body, too. Reactive oxygen species can damage DNA and hurt sperm.
So guys, when you think of health, factor in sperm health too. We are talking of normal healthy men, who may be damaging their sperm health invisibly and inadvertently.
Having difficulty in producing a child is a mental and social nightmare in our country and approaching specialists and hospitals for infertility treatments costs a bomb. So don’t get overconfident that you are healthy.