Male fertility

The following advice has been extracted from Endometriosis: a key to healing and fertility through Nutrition.

Sperm Quality

There are several aspects to sperm quality, there is the quantity of the sperm or low sperm count (oligospermia), the motility of the sperm (how well they move or swim) and the sperm can also be malformed (two tails, no tail). These issues will result in male infertility and some people can suffer from one or more of these conditions.

"The deteriorating quality of men's sperm has linked the problem with chemicals found in food, household products and the environment. Scientists are trying to find out why sperm counts may be falling. They have concluded that the chemical pesticides, which mimic female hormones, may also have contributed to rises in testicular cancer. The link is regarded as 'plausible' by the Department of the Environment".

The suspect chemicals considered include pesticides, Bisphenol A and phthalates (nonylphenols), a group of compounds that 'migrate' from plastic PVC wrappings and leak into foods such as cheese, meats, cakes, sandwiches, and confectionery; phytoestrogens occurring naturally in soya beans, which are widely incorporated into infant milk formula; alkylphenol polyethoxylates, used in detergents, paints and cosmetics; and ubiquitous industrial pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's) which accumulate in your bodies fatty tissue. Even strong electrical magnetic equipment field pulsations may be detrimental. There is research looking at the positive and negative charges of ova and sperm. Women working at VDU terminals appear to have problems with fertility.

'One man in 20 is subfertile' an international study published by the Danish Environment Ministry has stated. The maximum sperm count a man can have is determined by the number of Sertoli cells, which provide nutrients to the developing sperm. As Sertoli cells are produced very early in life, this implies that damage is being done very early in the foetal development stage via the mother's intake from food and the environment. "Spermatogenesis in the human takes 120 days to recover if there have been mutagens around. If the sperm are being damaged by chemicals the man must take precautions for the next 3 months whilst a new supply is being made".

Professor Niels Skakkebaek of the University of Copenhagen, the first scientist to observe changes in human sperm, says that the exposure of the male foetus to high levels of oestrogenic chemicals in the first three months of pregnancy could be the vital trigger. "It is quite clear from laboratory and clinical studies that pesticides of all categories may influence the immune system resulting endocrine dysfunction" (59). Much more research needs to be done to look at the profound effects this pollution is having on hormone levels.

Sperm Quantity (Oligospermia) or low sperm count. 'One man in 20 is subfertile' stated the Danish Environment Ministry. Sperm counts of over 100 million per millilitre are classed as healthy, but 90 million or below can bring problems.

Sperm Motility At the IVF Unit in Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington they already use vitamin C to improve sperm motility. The sperm have to be strong and healthy to swim against the tide to make it to the ovary and once there they have to penetrate the cell wall to fertilise the egg.

Sperm Abnormalities The sperm can be damaged by chemicals and free radicals causing malformed shapes. This can impair the way the sperm swims, its ability to break through the cell wall of the egg and its sense of direction.

Sperm nutrient needs

"Sperm counts of over 100 million per milliliter are classed as healthy, but 90 million or below can bring problems" (60). Sperm have to be healthy to swim the long distances through the womb and fallopian tubes. They encounter fluids on the way, which may harm them so their outer skin needs to be strong. The head of the sperm is rich in zinc and helps to penetrate the ova when they meet. This joining together then triggers a cascade of calcium to flow all around the fertilised egg.

Subclinical deficiencies of various nutrients can affect sperm formation.

Vitamin C
protects sperm against free-radical damage; the level in seminal fluid is much higher than in other body fluids.
Vitamin E
enhances the ability of sperm to fertilise an egg in test tubes.
Zinc
is critical in male reproduction and low zinc status may contribute to infertility (it increases testosterone levels alongside Vitamin E) research shows.
Vitamin B12
also appears to improve sperm counts and motility, deficiency is linked to sterility.
Vitamin A
deficiency causes abnormality of sperm shape and if the deficiency is prolonged the spermatids and spermatozoa disintegrate.
Selenium and iodine
deficiency is also associated with low sperm count. Magnesium deficiency is linked to mutagenic changes and infertility.
L Arginine and L Cartinine
The amino acids L Arginine is essential for sperm production and motility, and L Cartinine similarly appears to be high in the epididymis and sperm, which suggests that it too must play a role in male reproduction. These should therefore be given in cases of male infertility. "Excesses may also cause mutagenic changes so levels should be moderate".
Manganese
deficiency causes testicular degeneration".
Panax Ginseng and CoQ10
help sperm energy production.

Avoidance of an excess of fatty foods is also wise to ensure that the intake of harmful pesticide residues is kept low. "Pesticides bind to fats and are to be found more commonly in fatty food. Once inside the body pesticides react like oestrogens, a female hormone, and can upset the normal hormonal balance in males". The diet should be low in saturated animal fats, but some good quality cis-oils such as flax seed (edible food grade linseed oil), walnuts and extra virgin olive oils should be used in the diet. Eating organic food when possible can help to avoid some pesticides.

Nutrients needed for healthy sperm

Multi vitamin mineralVitamin E
Evening primrose and fish oilMagnesium
ZincManganese
L carnitineVitamin A
L argenineSelenium
Vitamin C Iodine
Panax GinsengCo Q10

Medical drugs associated with male infertility

Abused substances: Tobacco, Cocaine, marijuana, alcohol., aspartame
Beta Blockers
Antibiotics
Pesticides
Chemotherapy agents
Prolactin inducing agents
Antiandrogens
Steroids
High blood pressure medication

Sperm is half the baby, half the health. 60 per cent of miscarriages are due to defective sperm, and the material carried by healthy sperm are used to build the placenta which maintains the pregnancy from week 12 to week 40. If the placenta is not strong the pregnancy will fail. The health of the father counts! Anti-sperm antibodies should be checked for if there is a fertility problem, as should varicoceles, hormone balance, duct obstruction.

If you work with computers protect yourself against radiation, NASA offices use 6spider plants by the PC's as they are known to mop up radiation. Avoid laptops on your knees and do not have mobile phones in trouser pockets. If you work with chemicals wear protective clothing provided, If you cycle or drive long distances take care as sperm can become overheated and damaged so take breaks when driving and small walks.

Smoking

Tobacco increases the risk of low sperm count, miscarriages, premature birth, malformations, hyperactivity, cot death, asthma and learning difficulties. In men smoking is linked to decreases in sperm numbers, they become less motile as testosterone levels are reduced. Tobacco smoke contains 4,000 different compounds that lodge in body cells. Currently 1 baby in 4 (25%) in the UK are miscarried. 60 percent of these miscarriages are due to defective sperm, not the woman's fault but the man's. The whole process of spermatongenesis needs to be free from these noxious chemicals. Please try to give up smoking.

Street Drugs

In 2005 25.3 percent of 16-29 year olds had used street drugs in the past year. They are essentially poisons, so their effects on sperm and the developing foetus can only be detrimental. We now know that the material from the sperm is crucial to building the placenta, so that there may be transgenerational changes passed down three generations. In animals drug use is linked with increased foetal deaths and malformations. Sperm production is decreased and impotence becomes more likely. Babies born to drug users are smaller, hyperactive and have more behavioural and learning problems and are 10 times more likely to develop a form of leukaemia. Choose not to damage another human-beings life, especially that of your own children. www.drugfreeworld.org

Alcohol

Use of alcohol may lead to low sperm counts, damaged sperm, poor motility, small for dates babies who fail to thrive, deformities of face and joints from foetal alcohol syndrome, hyperactivity is seen with mental retardation. Alcohol use induces zinc depletion that can lead to foetal malformation. It takes 120 days before the sperm matures and damage will occur during this time. Lower use.