Does Caffeine Impact Male Fertility?

Does Caffeine Affect Male Fertility

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The average man drinks 2.4 cups of coffee a day and over half of us say we struggle to function without a cup of joe in the morning. But does coffee – and other drinks containing caffeine – have an impact on our fertility?


What exactly is caffeine?


Caffeine is a natural stimulant which derives from various plants including coffee bean plants, tea leaves and cacao (the most raw form of chocolate). When we consume caffeine, it stimulates our nervous system, making us feel awake and alert – and sometimes kind of buzzed. Whilst natural, caffeine is classed as a drug – as it alters us both physically and mentally. Whilst caffeine is absorbed by the body really quickly (almost all of it within 45 minutes of consumption) it stays in our body for hours. Like any drug, caffeine can be addictive – which is why many of us struggle to get through the morning without a cup of coffee. The average person consumes 135mg per day (54% of this is from coffee, 43% from tea and 3% from other forms). Whilst coffee might be the most obvious source of caffeine you can think of, it can be found in many other sources – from energy drinks to supplement powders.


Is caffeine bad for male fertility?


When it comes to the impact of caffeine on sperm health, research is still ongoing and the outlook is pretty mixed. It also seems to depend on that source you are getting your caffeine from.

For example, a 2016 study indicated that drinking caffeinated energy drinks had a negative impact on male fertility. A similar 2010 study found that drinking Coke (which is full of caffeine!) could decrease almost all sperm health parameters, including count, volume and concentration. This study also shed some light on how the amount of caffeine we consumed could impact fertility – with participants who consumed more than 800 mg a day having poorer sperm health than guys who consumed less than that.

Ok, so it seems like energy drinks and sodas definitely aren’t great for your swimmers – but what about your favourite oat milk latte? Well, another study looked at coffee consumption specifically and found that there was a marked tendency towards lower sperm quality in men that drank more than 3 coffees a day.


Are there any benefits of caffeine on male fertility?


Whilst the above might make you think that caffeine is the enemy of sperm performance, some studies actually indicate the opposite – but not how you may think.

Back in 1976 a study looked at the impact of caffeine when directly introduced to sperm in a lab and found that the naturally occurring drug actually stimulated motility in sperm cells. But does this work when caffeine is consumed by men rather than introduced directly to their sperm cells? The results of one small study seems to indicate so. Researchers in Brazil found that guys who drank coffee had a higher sperm motility rate than those who consumed no coffee – but before you crack out the Nespresso machine, this is one of the only studies on humans to prove this connection.


Other ways caffeine rich drinks can impact fertility


So, the research is fairly mixed when it comes to the impact of caffeine on male fertility, but are there other factors we should be considering here?

The vast majority of caffeine rich foods and drinks are also rich in other ingredients that could impact the health of your sperm – namely sugar. Whether it’s a can of coke or an energy drink, seriously high sugar levels are present in many of the products we associate with caffeine and this could be why studies involving these beverages show a negative impact on male fertility. As well as reducing sperm health parameters such as count and motility, men with high blood sugar levels have been shown to have an increased risk of DNA fragmentation, which can contribute to problems conceiving and even miscarriage.

It’s really hard to avoid sugar when consuming caffeine – and even sugar-free alternatives will contain artificial sweeteners which also aren’t great for your fertility or overall health.


So how much caffeine can I drink if trying to conceive?


The study we mentioned before indicates that consuming less than 800mg of caffeine a day shouldn’t have a massive impact on your fertility – but it does depend on where that caffeine is coming from. The average cup of coffee contains less than 100mg of caffeine, so a couple of lattes a day probably isn’t going to affect your swimmers (if you skip the sugar that is).

However, a can of coke has around 34 mg of caffeine, and whilst that’s less than coffee, if you drank 2 cans of coke a day, the sugar intake would start to impact your sperm health, even if the caffeine didn’t.

So, the good news is, you don’t have to give up your morning coffee altogether if you’re trying to conceive If you’re keen to make healthy lifestyle changes that support your fertility, it’s a good idea to keep your caffeine consumption to a moderate level, but most importantly, be aware of where that caffeine is coming from.


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Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.


Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.


Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.


Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.


There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  


A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.


Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.