Men have seen a drastic fall in sperm counts of up to 50% in the last 50 years leasing to increased rates of Infertility which can be defined as the failure to achieve pregnancy after regular unprotected sex (without the use of any contraception) for at least a year.
‘Primary’ infertility means failure to achieve a first pregnancy, ‘secondary’ infertility means failure to achieve a subsequent pregnancy.
Primary infertility is an extremely common problem, affecting more than one in seven (15 per cent) of couples attempting their first pregnancy.
A male fertility problem is considered important in around 40 per cent of couples. In 15 per cent of couples it will be solely a male fertility problem and in around 25 per cent, there will be a problem in both partners.
There are many different factors that can influence male fertility. Some of the key considerations are listed below
Hormonal imbalance – A deficiency of the male sex hormone testosterone can reduce fertility. Imbalances may occur due to problems with making testosterone in the testicle or with the pituitary gland or hypothalamus in the brain, which control testosterone production. Overproduction of prolactin (hyperprolactinaemia), a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, may also reduce fertility. Imbalances in testosterone can be detected in using a saliva test. Once detected Smart Nutrition could then be able to devise you a specific plan to optimise testosterone levels and fertility. Testosterone Test .
Nutritional deficiencies – Deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals can compromise fertility and can be the result of poor dietary choices. For Example Zinc is a very important mineral in relation to both male and female fertility. In men it is necessary for sperm production and plays a part in sperm count, motility and morpholpogy. A NutrEval test gives a comprehensive overview of your current nutrient status and can be used to target key problem areas that may be hampering your efforts to conceive. NutrEval – MOT Health Test.
Prostaglandins – Certain foods raise levels of beneficial prostaglandins in the sperm and healthy sperm are known to have larger amounts than unhealthy sperm.
Stress – Sperm counts, motility, and structure are altered under stress. Problems such as impotence and difficulties with ejaculation are often caused by the emotional distress in men. If you think stress may be a contributing to your difficulties conceiving, an adrenal stress index saliva test can help pinpoint precise hormone imbalances and the impact of your stress. Adrenal Stress Test.
Environmental factors – Pesticide exposure, Organochloride exposure, Non ionising radiation, Xenooestrogens and Heavy metals can all impact negatively on sperm count, motility, morphology and hence over all fertility. Eradicating these sources from your diet and removing heavy metals from the body if necessary can all help to improve your chances of conception. A Hair Mineral test is a great way of assessing levels of toxic metals such as lead, Mercury, Aluminium and Cadmium which are all know to affect fertility. This test will also assess your levels of beneficial nutrients including zinc the fertility mineral and Selenium which is important for protecting the DNA of sperm. Hair Mineral Analysis.
Unhealthy body weight – We all know the importance of maintaining a healthy weight for our body size and shape, but weight also plays a significant role in fertility. Our body needs to be of the right weight in order to produce the appropriate amount of hormones to regulate sperm production. If we are overweight or underweight, our body can start to experience problems with these natural fertility cycles, impacting on fertility Gaining or losing weight at a sensible weight with the help of Smart Nutrition can help to correct these problems.
Oxidative damage – Oxidative damage is caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. These are highly reactive species which can cause damage to sperm, reducing sperm quality and fertility. Free radicals occur all over the place. Some are made in the body and others come from our environment e.g. pollution, alcohol, smoking. Normally the body has very good mechanisms for mopping them up before they do us any damage, but if we are constantly exposed to high levels our body’s defence mechanism can become over whelmed. If you are concerned about you exposure to free radicals you might want to consider An Oxidative Stress Test. This gives an indication as to how much oxidative stress you body is under and how well it’s defence mechanisms are working or a more comprehensive test that would also look at your mineral and amino acid levels would be the NutrEval – MOT Health Test.
Alcohol, smoking, caffeine and marijuana – Smoking caffeine and alcohol and marijuana can all decrease sperm count, make sperm more sluggish and increase the number of abnormal sperm. The more you smoke, drink and consume caffeine the less likely you are to conceive. However trying to reduce or give up these vice can be a difficult task. To help you along the way Smart Nutrition can provide valuable assistance, using diet and supplements to support you body and reduce withdrawal symptoms. To find out more about what happens in a consultation click here.
Medical Conditions – Undescended testes, Infection, Some medication, Varioceles, Obstructions and STD’s can all impact on fertility in various ways. It’s worth getting checked out by your Gp or specialist for any of the above so that they can be worked on or the problem ruled out.