The average male can produce up to 1,000 viable sperm for every beat of his heart with all other circumstances being ideal. At this rate, it can boggle the mind to contemplate how male fertility could ever become a problem. Yet in today’s environment with technology, chemicals, stress and substances, men are experiencing more of an impact than is commonly realized. Learn about five key ways your environment could be making you infertile as an adult male today.
Way #1: Electronics
The health impacts that can arise from the use of electronics, including computers, tablets and smaller devices, is still being researched. However, according to the journal Fertility and Sterility, when it comes to sperm, the damage can already be predicted. Sperm exposed to a WiFi signal showed more DNA damage than unexposed sperm, all other factors remaining the same. As well, sperm motility drastically decreased among the exposed group, leading health practitioners to advise men not to perch laptops on their laps for work.
Way #2: Chemicals
From bug spray to treated water, x-ray radiation to additives in common toiletries and personal care items, every day we are bombarded with a variety of chemicals with unknown effects on fertility. As well, according to the UCSF Medical Center, exposure to PCBs, solvents, pesticides, herbicides, paint, lead and other heavy metals in the workplace can contribute to low sperm count and ultimately male infertility. In fact, it can take several years to regain normal levels of sperm production after exposure to some of these dangerous toxins.
Way #3: Substances
Substances include alcohol, nicotine, steroids and other drugs (both over the counter, perscription and recreational). Regular ingestion of these types of substances can over time lower sperm count. WebMD reports that over time, regular use of nicotine, marijuana, or alcohol can reduce sperm production and motility and lead to infertility, with cigarettes being particularly devastating to sperm count. But perhaps the most subtle detrimental effect can come from some so-called “safe” supplements and herbs, many of which have not been evaluated for side effects or effectiveness by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) yet are readily available at local health food stores or online.
Way #4: Stress and Exercise
The highly respected Mayo Clinic states that prolonged stress at home or in the workplace can interfere with male hormones required to produce sperm. Additionally, the stress caused by issues of overweight or obesity can place more stress on the system and impair sperm production. However, when it comes to exercise, it appears that moderation is the key, as excessive exercise can be just as detrimental for sperm production due to overheating the testicles (bicycling, horseback riding and other sports where there is continual contact and overheating of the testicles are particular culprits here!)
Way #5: Unbalanced Nutrition
Even as culture becomes increasingly obsessed with “all natural” food sources, it is easier than ever to fall prey to unbalanced nutrition without even realizing it! Celiac disease and gluten intolerance, both of which are on the rise today, can contribute to male infertility, as can a lack of certain essential amino acids and fatty acids in the diet (much of which can be missing in diets high in processed, refined foods). Additionally, it is not yet known precisely how GMO’s affect fertility, but early research suggests that eating GMO foods can lead to sterility in men over the long term. With numbers as high as six percent of adult males experiencing infertility today, and reports of overall sperm counts decreasing in adult men, it is time to get serious about male infertility. Environment changes, such as those described in these five ways, can help boost sperm count and mobility and over time reverse the decline in fertility for men.