Male Fertility Diet

Overview

A PubMed article says that 10 percent of couples seek fertility assessment and that a male factor is involved in half of all infertility cases. The article also reports that as much as 25 percent of analyzed semen samples contain abnormalities “for which no cause is found.”

Male fertility diets are among the hot topics of 2010, and research is gearing up to meet the need for reliable information. Nutrition for men who want to conceive is both controversial and promising.

History

Sperm counts have been declining since the 1930s, reports Healthcommunities.com, and there have been many changes in modern cultures since then, including increased environmental factors such as pollution, pesticides and preservatives in food; more sedentary and less physically demanding lifestyles; and diets often consisting of fast foods, processed foods and convenience foods. If such changes have contributed to decreased sperm counts, then addressing those factors could increase male fertility rates.

Significance

Male fertility involves all parts of the reproductive system, from semen, sperm and testosterone (the primary male hormone) to internal and external anatomy. All of these elements depend on proper nutrition and good health. Dietary groups, vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements can help the male reproductive system thrive by increasing proper hormone functions and sperm counts and decreasing abnormal sperm cells.

Dietary Guidelines

Restricting calories can extend lifespans but lower fertility rates. Eat food that is rich in fiber, protein and nutritional value. Stick to natural foods and buy organic when possible. Look for a wide variety of color in your fruits and vegetables, use whole grains and rotate your dietary staples such as lean beef, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts and seeds. Divide your weight in half and drink that many ounces of water every day; for example, a 170-lb. man should drink 85 oz. daily.

Restrictions

Male fertility diets should eliminate processed foods and “white” calories such as white bread, sugar and white flour. Do not consume alcohol or large amounts of caffeine, stop smoking and don’t use recreational drugs; all of these can lower sperm count and create defective, abnormal sperm cells.

Although soybeans are considered “health food,” they appear to be unwise in the male fertility diet. In October 2007, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston presented a study on the effect of soy isoflavones–secondary vegetable substances in soy beans–on male fertility. They investigated the effects of soy-derived foods on human semen quality and found that “consumption of soy foods was linked to lower sperm concentration.” The study consisted of 100 men who ate 15 soy-based foods for three months prior to semen analysis. Men with the highest soy intake had 41 million sperm per milliliter fewer than men who ate no soy.

Warnings

Use caution when reading websites, magazines and books regarding male fertility. Many sources,herbalists and authors have no expertise, credentials or standards of information.

Chromium picolinate, which is marketed to promote fat loss and muscle enhancement, can cause sterility and lethal sperm mutations; it is often found in sports foods and drinks.

About this Author

Jean Jenkins has been a registered nurse for 20 years. She has written medical research materials, articles and newsletters for organizations such as the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, the Colorado Neurological Institute and the Autism Society of America. Jenkins has specialized in the fields of neurosurgery, movement disorders, high-risk obstetrics and autism spectrum disorders.