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So What's Causing a Decline in Global Sperm Health?

In recent years, a concerning trend has emerged – a decline in male fertility, specifically the health of sperm. Sperm health is a vital indicator of male reproductive capability and plays a crucial role in the journey toward conception. This decline has sparked widespread attention and raised questions about the potential causes behind this unsettling phenomenon. In this article, we delve into recent news articles and research to shed light on the factors contributing to the decline in global sperm health.

The Sperm Health Crisis: An Overview

Sperm quality is a complex interplay of various factors, including sperm count, motility (ability to move), morphology (shape), and overall vitality. While it’s important to remember that individual cases vary, studies have indicated that a significant portion of men around the world are experiencing a decline in sperm health. A study published in the journal Human Reproduction in 2017 found that sperm counts have been declining by about 1% per year since the 1970s. This decline is most pronounced in Western countries, but it is also happening in other parts of the world. This downward trend has prompted scientists and researchers to uncover potential culprits behind the crisis.

 

The Growing Concern of Environmental Exposures

One key factor that has garnered attention is environmental exposures. Modern lifestyles have exposed us to a range of chemicals and pollutants that could be impacting our reproductive health. Pesticides, endocrine disruptors found in plastics, and even air pollutants have been linked to reduced sperm quality. Recent studies have highlighted the connection between certain chemicals and a decrease in sperm count and motility. These findings emphasize the importance of understanding the potential risks that our environment poses to reproductive health.

 

The Impact of Lifestyle Choices

Our daily choices also play a significant role in sperm health. Sedentary lifestyles, poor dietary habits, excessive stress, and inadequate sleep are all lifestyle factors that have been associated with declining sperm quality. In a world marked by fast-paced living, it’s crucial to recognize the importance of balanced living for both overall well-being and reproductive health.

 

Technology’s Role: A Double-Edged Sword

While technology has brought remarkable advancements to our lives, it’s also raised questions about its potential impact on male fertility. Recent research suggests that prolonged exposure to electronic devices emitting electromagnetic radiation might affect sperm quality. The jury is still out on the extent of this impact, but it’s a reminder that our relationship with technology should be mindful and balanced.

 

Diet and Nutrition

Diet and nutrition are foundational to overall health, and they also play a role in sperm health. Recent studies have shown that diets rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and certain vitamins and minerals are associated with better sperm quality. On the flip side, diets high in processed foods, sugars, and unhealthy fats might contribute to poorer sperm health. These findings underline the importance of a well-rounded and nutrient-rich diet.

 

The Way Forward: Navigating the Challenges

As we navigate the challenges to male fertility, it’s crucial to approach the issue holistically. Awareness is the first step – understanding the potential risks and their impact is key. Equipped with this knowledge, individuals and couples can make informed choices that positively influence reproductive health.

At ExSeed Health, we are dedicated to empowering individuals with the information and tools they need to take charge of their reproductive health. Our at-home male fertility tests offer a window into sperm health, allowing men to monitor and optimize their fertility journey. By combining cutting-edge technology with evidence-based insights, we aim to support healthier reproductive futures.

The decline in global sperm health is a complex issue with multiple contributing factors. Environmental exposures, lifestyle choices, technology’s role, and diet all play their part. By acknowledging these factors and taking proactive steps, we can work toward improving sperm health and contributing to a healthier future.

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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.

Stress

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.

Nutrition

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.

Vegetables
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.

Heat

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.

BMI

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.  

Alcohol

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”.

Age

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.