If you or your partner has just received the news that there is an issue with sperm, he is not alone. It is estimated that male fertility issues account for around 33% of all infertility. Gaye Godkin, Nutritionist, explains why you shouldn’t panic if you receive a low sperm count result.
A low sperm count is diagnosed as part of a semen analysis test. Sperm count is generally determined by examining semen under a microscope. Having a low sperm count can make it more difficult to conceive naturally, although successful pregnancies can still occur. There are treatments available that can help you become a dad if you have a low sperm count, in addition, there are some simple diet and lifestyle changes that may help.
If we take a quick look at the process of making sperm we can begin to understand how small changes can have an impact on sperm quality.
Spermatogenesis is the process of making mature sperm. Men have to produce between 40 and 300 million sperm cells to be fertile. This is an intensive process and the energy involved in creating these cells is significant. This means the process is hugely dependent on a sufficient energy supply. There are a number of nutrients that are needed by the body to support the production of energy including the B vitamin family as well as minerals such as Zinc, Magnesium and Selenium. A deficiency in any nutrient can have an impact.
NUTRIENTS FOR SPERM QUALITY
Male sperm production has been declining over the past number of decades. It is thought that this is down to our modern day diet high in processed foods, environmental and lifestyle factors.
Selenium is an important antioxidant vital for sperm production that can quite easily be lacking in the diet. Men loose selenium in semen and it needs to be replenished daily to ensure healthy batches are made. Brazil nuts (must be fresh) in particular are a great source of selenium.
Zinc well is known for its role in fertility and reproduction. Good food sources of zinc include eggs, nuts, oily fish, seafood, lamb, apricots, whole grains.
Zinc and Magnesium consumption tend be low in our diets and are key to sperm production and DNA repair. However, it is not advisable to take high doses of any mineral in isolation – balance is key. Similarly B Vitamins work interdependently in the body and need to be taken together.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The good news is that new sperm is produced from scratch every 3 months. Each new batch may be entirely different to the previous batch. This means improvements can be made in a short period of time by adopting a healthy diet, engaging in positive lifestyle behaviours such as reducing alcohol intake, quitting smoking and taking a good quality, balanced multi-vitamin and multi-mineral supplement such as Proceive Men or Proceive Max Men for a period of 3 months.