For men who want to have children soon, the quality and quantity of their sperm counts. These tips work for improving sperm health in just a few weeks.
If you’re a man with a modern lifestyle, you may be doing things that prevent your sperm from being as healthy as possible. This can prolong how long it takes to get pregnant and impact the health of the fetus, especially if there are compounding factors such as age, thyroid issues, cancer or certain testicular conditions.
Important Sperm Parameters
There are three considerations to sperm health that your doctor can measure: quantity (a sperm count of 15 million sperm or more per millimeter of semen is ideal), motility (movement) and morphology (shape). One or more of these health factors can be improved upon with the following steps in as few as 30 days.
How Diet Factors into Improving Sperm Health
A healthier body produces healthier sperm. This means cutting down on fats, sugars, carbs, dairy and meat and stocking up on the healthy nutrients that are provided by fruits, vegetables, chicken and fish. Limit the amount of soy you ingest as it can decrease sperm volume. Seek out food high in vitamins B12 and C as well as lycopene, the latter of which can be found in tomatoes and watermelon and helps with sperm motility. Nuts in particular can boost sperm health. This lean diet might also help your waistline.
While you’re decreasing junk foods and increasing nutrients, you might consider adding a supplement to your daily routine, depending on your needs. For sperm motility, try vitamin C and ashwagandha root extract. Ashwagandha root extract, like zinc, is also good for sperm count. CoQ10 increases the quality of semen while vitamin D can offer a testosterone boost if yours is low.
Don’t forget to drink well, too. Excess caffeine—more than three cups a day—can impact sperm and increase the risk of miscarriage. Alcohol, too, can inhibit sperm if you drink too much. Four drinks a week seems to be the cutoff. Obviously, other recreational drugs, including steroids, and smoking can be detrimental to sperm health.
Healthy Body Equals Healthy Sperm
Exercise, along with diet, helps a body to be healthy, so if you’ve become something of a couch potato, you might want to add heading to the gym or going for a jog on your calendar to bring down your BMI, which may lower the quality of your sperm. However, you may want to steer clear of activities, such as biking, that might injure your sperm or cause excessive scrotal movement. Overdoing exercise can cause stress injuries such as tendonitis and also negate your efforts in improving sperm health.
Impact of Environmental Factors on Sperm Health
While some people worry about what type of underwear to wear (spoiler alert: the difference in sperm health between boxers and briefs is negligible), people who are interested in improving sperm health may overlook environmental toxins. Exposure to lead, acetone, mercury vapor or dibromochloropropane can harm sperm. Be wary of these chemicals in your environment, especially if you work in construction, packaging, chemical research or some manufacturing facilities. They can be found in housing materials and soil, plastic and insulation, industrial aerosols and metal dust, and pesticides, respectively. Reducing your exposure to plastic can be difficult, but you can replace the plastics you use with glass, metal or silicone whenever possible. Opt for food that was not treated with pesticides or even grow your own if you can.
It’s also important to keep cool as heat stress has been shown to lower sperm motility and count.
Finally, for help improving sperm health and mobility, consider using a TTC lubricant during intercourse. This personal lubricant makes sex more comfortable but doesn’t have the potential to damage sperm as much as traditional lubricants.
You can practice these tips for improving sperm health all the time when you’re trying to conceive. It’s good advice in preparation for IVF but especially in the 30 days leading up to semen collection. Your doctor can measure your sperm count and mobility after you implement lifestyle changes to determine if what you’re doing is working.