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The average couple trying to conceive has sex four times per week, for at least six months. That's the good news. The bad news is that it can take even longer for a couple if the husband is struggling with low sperm count or other male fertility problems. Smoking, alcohol intake, lack of exercise and being overweight can all reduce male fertility. Here are 10 tips for boosting male fertility.
A 2009 study revealed what doctors have suspected for a long time. There's a direct correlation between a man being overweight and having lower testosterone levels. As a man gains more and more weight, it begins a vicious cycle. The extra weight lowers testosterone, and then heart problems begin to set in. This lowers testosterone even further. The best way to combat this is to start an exercise program and start shedding that excess weight. Before you know it, he'll be more active both in and out of the bedroom. (Note that working out too much can also lower testosterone levels.)
This includes both cigarettes and marijuana. The THC in marijuana and the many chemicals in cigarettes contribute to lower testosterone levels. Even if it's done in moderation, smoking can reduce sperm counts and affect sperm motility.
Heavy or chronic drinking can reduce testosterone levels and affect male fertility. Moderate consumption of one or two drinks per day is acceptable. Wine is the preferred alcoholic beverage if you're going to drink while trying to get pregnant. It has added health benefits (in very low amounts) and is less fattening than beer or hard alcohol.
Getting a healthy amount of sleep is important when you're trying to conceive. A lack of sleep can increase cortisol levels in his bloodstream, which has been shown to lower testosterone. It can also contribute to calcification in the arteries, which increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
It almost goes without saying that eating fruits and vegetables can improve your quality of health. Fertility clinics have done studies on the antioxidants in fruits and veggies, and found that men who don't eat enough of these have poor semen quality overall. Spinach and broccoli are the best vegetables to eat for sperm quality. They contain Coenzyme Q10, which has been shown to increase energy levels and sperm motility.
A 2008 study found that men who eat soy products on a regular basis have lower sperm counts. The average was a reduction of 41 million less sperm per milliliter of ejaculate. This actually isn't a huge reduction, but it could be significant if a man already struggles with a low sperm count. No other changes in sperm quality were noted in this study; sperm motility and other factors were unchanged.
Call it an old wives' tale or an urban legend, but the belief that masturbation or frequent ejaculation reduces male fertility is simply not true. Study after study has shown that frequent ejaculation keeps the sperm more healthy. When sperm stay in the male body for extended periods of time, they tend to undergo DNA damage and also become sluggish. Frequent ejaculation ensures that the body is constantly producing fresh, healthy sperm.
Scientists aren't exactly sure of the reasons yet, but they have found that heavy soda drinkers have lower sperm counts. One theory is that the excess sugar reduces testosterone levels. No matter what the reason is, lowering your daily intake of soda will likely help when you're trying to conceive.
A study published in the European Journal of Applied Psychology found that low carb diets, like the Atkins diet, reduce testosterone levels in males by as much as 33 percent. They recommend that men "carb up" after an intense workout for the best results when trying to conceive.
Vitamins A,D and E are all important for testosterone levels and sperm counts. If you're not getting enough of these through your regular diet, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about a supplement. Whole food vitamin supplements are the best option, because they're made from vegetable and plant matter (without all the chemicals in typical multivitamins). Getting some sunlight can increase your vitamin D intake as well. Carrots and yams are a great source of vitamin A. For vitamin E, look to foods like nuts and vegetable oils (peanut butter is actually a great source).
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