The quality and quantity of sperm in semen is an important factor when trying to conceive. These studies findings help to identify ways that are simple to put into practice and that could have a positive effect on the health of sperm.
1. Don’t Carry Your Mobile in Your Trousers!
There is considerable, but not proven, evidence that mobile phones could reduce sperm production and motility.
2004: European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology Conference.
Scientists studied mobile phone use and sperm counts in 221 men over a 13 month period comparing high users and non-users. Those who were heavy users had sperm counts up to 30% lower than non-users and that just having the phone on in your pocket was sufficient to reduce the sperm count.
2006: American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference
Another study led by Ashok Agarwal reported at this conference, that they took samples of sperm from men attending a fertility clinic and found the sperm declined steadily in number, quality and ability to swim as mobile usage increased. Four hours use a day resulted in a 30% drop in sperm motility or movement and viability when compared to men who did not use a mobile phone. This study divided 361 men into 4 groups all depending upon their mobile phone usage. The results indicated that the sperm decreased in quality and quantity as mobile phone usage increased.
2006: Archives of Medical Research
27 males provided semen samples which was divided equally into 2 parts. One group of samples was exposed to 900MHz mobile phone whereas the other was not. The concentration and motility of the specimens were compared to analyse the effects of the electro-magnetic radiation (mobile phone emmissions).
The amount of movement decreased between the exposed group and the un-exposed group. There was also an increase in the amount of sperm that had no movement. It was conlcuded that mobile phones do effect sperm motility.
2008: Center for Reproductive Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio.
This study took semen samples from 32 men. This time, the samples were divided into two groups. One group was exposed to mobile phone radiation, the other was not but otherwise, both sets of samples were kept in the same conditions.
The exposed sample group was placed 2.5cm away from 850MHz mobile phone in talk mode for 1 hour, this was to mimic a phone being in a trouser pocket and close to the testes. This group was found to have a significant increase in free radicals and oxidants and a decrease in antioxidants.
2009: Department of Biochemistry, Melaka Manipal,, Medical College India Clinics (Sao Paolo). 2009; 64(6):561-5
Wistar rats were exposed to radio frequency electro-magnetic radation for 1 continuous hour a day for 28 days compared to another group of wistar rats that were not. The results found that the exposed rats had a significantly reduced percentage of motile sperm.
So it would appear from the evidence to date that it would do no harm to change the position of where you carry your mobile phone to aid sperm motility and possible production.
Many men carry their mobile phones in their trouser pockets. Perhaps carry it in a shirt pocket or use an exercise arm band. It also appears from the evidence that if you have a briefcase or similar bag, then this might work even better.
2. Do More Exercise!
20 hours of TV weekly may nearly halve sperm count; 15 or more hours of moderate to vigorous exercise weekly may boost sperm count so say a team at Harvard School of Public Health.
The team published a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine this week and after analysing the semen quality 0f 189 men aged between 18 and 22, they found that men who watched 20 hours of TV had a 44% lower sperm count than those who watched no TV. And those who participated in moderate activity for 15 hours or more a week, had a 73% higher sperm count that those who exercised less than 5 hours a week. There was no benefit found from mild exercise on sperm count.
The authors caution that, while a reduced sperm count has been linked to lower fertility, it does not necessarily stop men from fathering a child.
3. Lose Weight If There Is Weight To Lose!
Another study team from Harvard School of Public Health looked at 14 different studies where information had been obtained about men’s weight and sperm counts. The team found that men who were overweight were 11% more likely to have a low sperm count and 39% were more likely to have no sperm.
In fact, the results showed that obese men were 42 percent more likely to have a low sperm count than if they were normal-weight and 81 % more likely to produce no sperm. However, they did say that more research was needed to identify if excess weight caused the low sperm count or if other underlying health problems were to blame.
4. Cut Down On Diary & Carbohydrate
In October 2012, another Harvard team launched two investigations exploring the impact of nutrition on sperm quality. One focused on dairy intake and the other on carbohydrate consumption.
The carbohydrate study involved just under 200 “highly physical active” healthy men between the ages of 18 and 22, most of whom were white.
A dietary analysis revealed that their carbohydrate intake accounted for roughly half of all calories consumed among the participants. The team found that their corbohydrate intake did not appear to have any impact on sperm mobility or shape. However, it did find that the more carbohydrates that were consumed, the lower the man’s overall sperm count.
With respect to dairy intake, the Harvard group found that sperm shape was less likely to be “normal” as men’s dairy intake went up. This connection was particularly strong when full-fat dairy products — such as whole milk, cheese and cream — were consumed. Neither sperm count nor sperm movement seemed to be affected by this relationship.
Chavarro who led the team that carried out the study said that the results of both studies held up even after accounting for a number of possibly influencing factors, such as body weight, smoking history, and alcohol and caffeine consumption habits.
5. Cut Down On Fatty Food
A team from Denmark surveyed and examined 701 young Danish men who were about 20 years old and getting checkups for the military between 2008 and 2010.
They were asked about the food they ate over the prior three months, and then asked for a semen sample. The men who ate the most saturated fats had a 38 per cent lower concentration of sperm and 41 per cent lower sperm counts in their semen than those who ate the least fat.
This study reminds us that male fertility is delicate and can be easily influenced by the same things that influence our general health. Significantly, the participants were not seeking fertility treatment, unlike previous studies looking at diet and fertility.
This study may also partially explain studies that have found sperm counts decreasing around the world.