Question: I need help. I have been married for three years but my wife is still not pregnant. I went for a checkup and it seems as if my sperm count is very low as only 30 percent is active. I’m active in sports and go jogging almost every day for at least five kilometres. I also participate in long-distance marathons in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. How can I increase my sperm count? Please help me.
Dr Dana Answers: I refer to a study titled “Gonadal Hormones And Semen Quality In Male Runners. A Volume Threshold Effect Of Endurance Training” in The International Journal of Sports Medicine in 1994. A sample of 11 high mileage runners (approximately 108 kilometres per week); nine moderate mileage runners (approximately 54.2 kilometres per week) and 10 sedentary controls of similar age (28.3 kilometres per year) were studied to evaluate the effects of volume of endurance training on reproductive functions in male runners. Researchers discovered that total motile sperm count and density were lower in the high mileage runners than in the sedentary control group.
The study observed a decreased sperm motility and an increased population of immature sperm in the high mileage runners, as compared to moderate mileage and sedentary control groups. Sperm penetration of cervical mucus was also decreased in the high mileage group compared to the sedentary control group.
In another study titled “Prospective Study Of Hormonal And Semen Profiles In Marathon Runners” in 1995, 24 healthy male marathon runners between the ages of 25 to 54 were studied. Semen analyses included an evaluation of count, motility, morphology, and volume. These profiles were correlated with training intensity, which was increased significantly in the first five months of the study. The results showed that the semen volume, sperm motility and morphology fell significantly during training, but there was no significant alteration in the sperm count.
So my recommendation is to opt for less intense endurance sports if you seek to have a higher chance of being a father.
7 Tips To Increase Fertility In Men
1. Go Easy On Alcohol
Excessive consumption of alcohol is not only bad for your liver but also affects sperm motility in men. If you are trying to conceive a baby, layoff the alcohol for a few months. Quit smoking too while you’re at it, which also has a negative effect on sperm motility.
2. Exercise Regularly
While extreme activity can have an adverse effect on the sperm count, a healthy and balanced lifestyle will improve your sperm count. Make exercising a part of your daily regime to boost testosterone levels. Studies have shown that men who exercise regularly have a higher semen quality than inactive men.
3. Take Vitamin C Supplements
Vitamin C plays an important role in boosting your immune system. Some studies indicate that taking antioxidant supplements such as vitamin C may improve fertility. The body’s own antioxidant defences are weakened by factors like old age, unhealthy lifestyle and environmental pollution, and taking external supplements will only help restore the lost value.
4. Add Fenugreek To Your Diet
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a popular culinary and medicinal herb that has the effects of boosting male fertility. A study analysed the effects of 500 mg of fenugreek extract on 30 men who strength-trained four times a week. The men experienced increased testosterone levels, strength, and fat loss. Several other studies backed up the claim based on fenugreek extract added to the diet of men.
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5. Avoid Eating Soy
Eating too much soy could be affecting your sperm count. Soy is rich in isoflavone that is associated with lower semen quality. While you don’t need to remove it from your diet completely, you will need to limit consumption when you are trying to have a baby.
6. Switch To Boxers
Briefs can be restrictive and can be harmful to a man’s testicles, especially if you’re trying to conceive. The testicles can overheat and reduce sperm count. Instead, it’s a good option to wear boxers that are more comfortable and allow better heat dissipation.
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Affecting both men and women, stress can be a major issue with sperm motility and fertility at large. It takes a toll not only on your fertility rate but sex drive too. For women, stress has been linked to an increased risk of stillbirth. It would be a good idea to enrol in yoga or meditation programs to ease your stress issues.
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