A Functional Medicine Approach to Male Fertility
Half of a baby’s DNA comes from the guy and almost half of fertility cases are due to male factors. Subfertility in males is becoming all too common, but luckily it’s pretty easy to improve sperm health if you know what to do. Here’s what you and your guy should know:
How to Test Male Fertility
Semen analysis determines the quantity and quality of sperm. An optimal count is above 20 million. Keep in mind that these scores will improve after removing underlying causes damaging the sperm and providing the necessary nutrients and antioxidants, but it takes 2-3 months for healthy sperm to turnover.
What Can Decrease Sperm Counts
Sperm production can be suppressed by substances like marijuana, tobacco, alcohol, antimalarial drugs, steroids, and ulcer medications. Being over or underweight can also suppress healthy sperm production.
Sperm are super sensitive to heat.. testicles hang for a reason! Men #TTC should avoid tight clothes, saunas, hot tubs, biking (which can cause direct trauma along with heat), laptops directly on the lap and phones in the front pocket. Even sitting for long periods of time with legs together could create a problem.
Sperm are also sensitive to toxins. Switch to paraben-free, clean soaps, detergents, hair products, and deodorant and skip any colognes or other chemical scents which disrupt hormones. I recommend a detox for both female and male partners 3-4 months prior to TTC to optimize egg and sperm health.
Nutrients for Sperm Health
Just like egg health in women, sperm health is dependent on getting appropriate nutrients to grow healthy cells and protect their DNA from damage. Nutrients especially important in sperm health are Zinc, CoQ10, Vitamin E, and Omega 3 fatty acids. Eating a whole food diet with a rainbow of organic plants will provide antioxidants to fight free radicals and lower inflammation. I also recommend regularly eating low mercury fatty fish like salmon, trout, and sardines for food-sourced Omega 3, as well as organ meats like beef liver which is high in zinc, iron, and B vitamins.
Timing is Everything
Save the goods. If you’re TTC and you have a suboptimal sperm count, try to keep ejaculations to every 48 hours during the fertile window.
Want to Get to the Bottom of Your Subfertility?
If you have made diet and lifestyle changes and still aren't getting pregnant, you may have an underlying factor that is affecting your fertility, such as hidden inflammation or a high toxin load. To learn more about toxin and nutrient testing and how to get a customized nutrition and supplementation plan, schedule your free consult with me today.