You might be surprised to discover that Male Infertility is increasing, and that it’s among younger – not older – men.  This poses quite the predicament, as younger men are more likely to rely on their fertility.  Where older men have their own families, younger men are only just beginning.  Traditionally, reproduction takes a backseat as men age and their testosterone production winds downs.

An estimated 10% to 15% of couples experience Male Infertility, defined as one year of unsuccessful attempts at trying to conceive a baby. However, this is largely viewed as a “woman’s problem,” even though statistics show that male factors may be involved in one-third of infertility cases.

Read more:  Improving Male Fertility

Recently, however, this trend has changed with younger men experiencing Low T (low testosterone that occurs suddenly).  If you are like many men who are concerned about their male infertility, or are having problems conceiving, then know you are not alone.  While researchers are still looking into why male infertility is all of a sudden decreasing, there are things you can do to counter the effects.

The first is to understand what is going on biologically.  A large factor is sperm, or a lack thereof.  The quality of your sperm also plays a factor.  In order to conceive, a man must be able to produce quantity and quality sperm that meets with a healthy egg.  In recent times, scientists are finding that our ‘dad diet’ of fast food and packaged foods are lowing the quantity and quality of sperm.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from the National Survey of Family Growth and found that 7.5% of all sexually experienced men reported a visit for help with fertility at some point in their lives. Of those who sought help, 18.1% were diagnosed with a male-related infertility issue, such as sperm or semen problems or varicocele (when veins in the testicles are too large, causing heat that can affect the number or shape of sperm).

Read more:  Improving Male Fertility

Nutrition and pregnancy expert Bridget Swinney, MS, RD, LD, author of Eating Expectantly, says, “I think people first think of the physical causes of male fertility rather than something simple like diet. Everyone I speak to on this topic is very surprised that a dad’s diet could really improve or hamper the likelihood of conception.”

Male Infertility 101

Does what you eat really have an impact on male infertility?  According to new research the answer is yes – your diet can play a significant role in fertility.

“A growing number of studies in rodents and other model organisms are showing that paternal diet at the time he produces offspring can affect his offspring’s health,” says Wendie A. Robbins, PhD, RN, FAAN, a professor, and the Audrienne H. Moseley endowed chair at UCLA.  “For example, a low-protein paternal diet changes lipid and cholesterol metabolism in his offspring; a high-fat paternal diet leads to beta-cell dysfunction in daughters; and paternal obesity has been shown to affect embryo development, pregnancy outcome, and body fat in offspring.”

Men need a high protein diet with a complex variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure that they continue to produce adequate amounts of testosterone.  If you are not getting all the key nutrients then you may be at risk of losing the quality of your sperm.   This can spell major problems if you are hoping to start your own family.  However, you can incorporate more foods into your diet to reduce this risk.

Male Infertility - Body Weight Counts

Another major factor to consider is your Body Mass Index (BMI).  This is what tells you how much weight you have per your height and stature.  Men who carry too much weight, especially in localized areas such as the belly, may be at higher risk of being infertile than other men who maintain a healthy BMI.  One of the best decisions you can make today is to reduce your BMI.

A study in Iran investigated omega-3 fatty acid levels in blood and spermatozoa in 78 fertile and 82 infertile men. The researchers found that proven fertile men had higher blood and spermatozoa levels of omega-3 fatty acids compared with infertile men. The ratio of serum omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids was significantly higher in infertile men, and levels of arachidonic acid were higher and the omega-3 index (EPA and DHA) was lower in infertile men compared with fertile controls.

Read more:  Improving Male Fertility

Chavarro says antioxidants may also be a promising aid in male infertility, adding, “Sperm are very susceptible to oxidative damage, which is suggestive that antioxidants may benefit sperm quality.”

“Oxidative stress can affect many parameters of male fertility, including sperm motility, sperm number, and DNA damage,” Swinney says. “We tend to think of vitamin C and vitamin E as antioxidants, but zinc, folic acid, copper, and selenium have antioxidant properties as well. The best way to get this variety of nutrients is to eat a healthful diet containing a variety of protein sources, whole grains, nuts, fruits, and veggies.”

David Grotto, RD, LDN, author of The Best Things You Can Eat, recommends that men boost fiber-rich carbs, folate, antioxidants such as vitamin C and lycopene, and zinc-rich foods, such as oysters, crab, pork, beef, chicken, and turkey, to help sperm and testosterone production.  You should follow this diet with regular exercise.  Check in with your doctor to determine if treatment for Low T is right for you.

Now that you know what might be putting your sperm at risk, will you put these tips to fight male infertility?