Springing into Fertility: The Male Factor
Last week we covered libido, getting into the mood for the main event. One of the fun things about us humans is that the main event is desirable in and of itself. But eventually, some of us ultimately want to grow and raise a family. This is where fertility – or the body’s ability to conceive children comes into play!
Studies have found that the rates of male infertility are on the rise. And while a small percentage of infertility is attributed to genes, our lifestyles and environment are factors where we’ve seen more drastic and recent changes and may be bigger culprits since genetic change take much longer. This is why this article will address environmental and lifestyle factors in male fertility.
Besides procreation, male infertility is also serves as an indicator for male health – like the canary in the gold mine, it can be a warning for other medical conditions.
So let’s get into how to optimize the health of these little soldiers!
Tests can be done with a health care provider to examine the plumbing – making sure there are not structural blocks/ issues, and sampling of semen is used to examine sperm quality (ideally there is high concentration, lots of motility, and normal structure/ shape). If they fall below the World Health Organization (WHO) normal values, then the sample is deemed to have male factor infertility.
Oligospermia – low sperm concentration
Asthenospermia – poor sperm motility
Teratospermia – abnormal sperm shape
But don’t fret! There are ways to restore the health of your troopers! In order to do that, we need to step back and take care of the big guy – that’s you!
Things you can do to improve male fertility:
Routine relaxation – stress lowers sperm quantity and quality. Make it a habit, whether it's meditation, playful exercise, walking, reading... If you're busy, build it into your schedule and commit to it like you would an important meeting.
Get to a healthy weight – get cooking, learn to eat and prepare real food. Along these lines, good, real food are full of antioxidants, necessary vitamins and minerals all of which keep you and your sperm in top shape. Processed and fast foods like deli meats, electrolyte drinks, fruit and fruit & nut bars, frozen potato products, flavored noodles, etc … Instead, try the 5 ingredients or less rule!
Try a natural pain reliever - chronic use of ibuprofen disrupts testosterone production – speak with your naturopathic doctor about natural alternatives like curcumin, acupuncture, hydrotherapy just to name a few :)
Stop smoking – there are over 4,000 toxic chemicals that are straight up harmful and male fertility is not spared here either. Check out some of these apps to help you kick the habit here. Try this:
Learn about endocrine disrupting chemicals here , and create ways to live with less or none of them around you! You can use the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website to check out which products are safest for your health!
Making lifestyle changes can have a big impact on your health and the health of your soldiers!
Although pregnancy seems like a female process and responsibility, men are equally important even when you can’t physically see the responsibility. So taking these steps right from the outset and throughout the whole experience is key!
At the end of the day, it’s really the little things that matter most ;)
*Please note that there are many medical and environmental reasons for male infertility and they should be explored thoroughly with your health care provider. Examples include erectile dysfunction, low libido, testicular damage due to trauma, obesity, drugs (SSRI’s, abuse of tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol), hormone imbalances.
Disclaimer: This is EXTREMELY individual and we do not recommend starting anything without consulting a health care practitioner. Contact a Naturopathic Doctor about your concerns and what protocol is best for you.
Government of Canada. (2013). Fertility. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/fertility/fertility.html
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. (2011). Endocrine disruptors. Retrieved from
Kumar, N. & Singh, A. K. (2015). Trends of male factor fertility, an important cause of infertility: a review of literature. Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences. 8(4), 191-196. Retrieved from
Luiten, C. M., et al. (2016). Ultra processed foods have the worst nutrient profile, yet they are the most available packaged products in a sample of New Zealand supermarkets. Public Health Nutrition, 19(3), 530-538. Retrieved from
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