From the desk of Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO…
Male infertility affects one in twenty men, contributing to half of all infertility issues. The following is a summary of recommendations based on recent research and findings. The general goal of these recommendations is to increase circulating levels of antioxidants and reduce free radical stress. Infertile men have been found to have a higher concentration of free radicals in their semen as compared to fertile men. High levels of free radicals within semen have been shown to cause damage to the sperm membrane and DNA. Studies suggest that 30–80% of infertile men have oxidative stress-related infertility.
- Seek medical advice early in the process to rule out infections, varicoceles, blocked ejaculatory ducts, thyroid disorders, celiac disease, or other known causes of male infertility
- Avoid excessive heat especially near the scrotal area including waterbeds, heating pads/blankets, saunas, hot tubs, using laptop computers (on the lap), or wearing tight clothing (biking shorts, jock straps, etc…) that will result in a temperature increase
- Do Not Smoke. Smoking and exposure to environmental pollutants are linked with excess free radical production, which in turn damages sperm DNA. Smoking has also been shown to decrease sperm motility, sperm morphology, and cause erectile dysfunction.
- Do not use marijuana, steroids, performance enhancing drugs, or other recreational drugs. Marijuana stays in the testes for up to two weeks meaning that habitual use can affect sperm function.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol to moderate intake levels. Excessive caffeine and alcohol intake is linked with poor fertility. The general consensus is that 300 mg or 2-3 5 oz. cups of coffee and no more than 2 glasses of alcohol per day for men are considered a moderate levels of intake.
- Maintain a healthy weight and check your BMI. Overweight men are 50% more likely to have fertility problems as well as having lower testosterone levels and lower sperm motility.
- Exercise regularly and moderately: 30-minutes, 5 times/week. Consider increasing your activity level if you are inactive. Similarly, consider cutting back on your training regimen if you are training for a marathon, triathlon, or other long-distance sport.
- Improve your nutrition status by improving your diet in the following three categories. Fats: Reduce your saturated fat intake and increase your omega-3 fatty acid consumption. Proteins: Reduce animal protein sources, and increase vegetable protein sources. Carbohydrates: Decrease “white” foods such as bread, pasta, rice, bagels etc…, and increase your foods of color (red peppers, carrots, squash, kale, blueberries, grapes).
- Take a Multivitamin: Antioxidants help reduce the effects of free radicals. Eat antioxidant rich foods and take a multivitamin to help counter the effects of free radicals.
- According to a recent research study, a multivitamin containing the following ingredients had benefits for sperm counts all across the board. Check to see if your multivitamin contains the following ingredients/dosages and supplement accordingly:
Lycopene 6 mg
Vitamin E 400 IU
Vitamin C 100 mg
Zinc 25 mg
Selenium 26 μgm
Folate 0.5 mg
Garlic 1000 mg
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Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO
Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and massage therapist in Massachusetts and California. She holds a Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. Her training also includes a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis, CA. She is a National Diplomate of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine, Chinese Herbology and Acupuncture Orthopedics. This orthopedic specialty certification is held by fewer than 300 acupuncturists in the United States. Jessica founded OMBE to integrate the best of Eastern and Western medicine. The center’s green philosophy reflects her commitment to the environment.Acupuncture