According to one study which simulated the effect of moderate and heavy drinking, alcohol causes irreversible tail damage to sperm, causing poor sperm motility. But besides making it difficult for the sperm to swim, alcohol is a testicular toxin. It can cause some serious sperm damage such as:
- Low sperm motility
- Low sperm count
- Loss of sperm
- Sperm shape damage
- A high percentage of abnormal sperm
- Atrophy of semeniferous tubules (this is where sperm is formed)
What Is Low Sperm Motility and How Can It Affect Your Fertility?But before getting into more detail about how alcohol may disrupt fertility, let us first discuss what sperm motility is. Sperm motility refers to the sperm's ability to move efficiently. A sperm's ability to move is an important aspect of male fertility since the sperm needs to reach the egg in order for conception to happen.
What is normal sperm motility? In order for sperm to be able to pass through the cervix and swim towards the egg, sperm should have progressive motility of 25 micrometers per second or greater.
Asthenozoospermia, poor sperm motility or low sperm motility happens when only less than 32% of a man's sperm is moving normally. Having low sperm motility may make it difficult for men and their partners to conceive.
Common Causes of Low Sperm Motility in MenVarious factors may cause abnormal sperm movement in men. Injury to the testicles, for one, can prompt abnormal sperm motility. Medical conditions like varicoceles, undescended testicles and testicular cancer may also contribute to low sperm motility.
Poor lifestyle choices may also affect your sperm's ability to move normally. Examples include the chronic use of muscle-enhancing anabolic steroids and illegal drugs, smoking, and drinking alcohol.
Low Sperm Motility Can Result in MiscarriageWhile low sperm motility can directly affect fertility by making it more difficult for the sperm to fertilize the egg, poor sperm movement can also affect pregnancy. Partners of men with poor sperm parameters and low sperm motility are more prone to miscarriage. If your partner suffers from recurrent miscarriages, make sure to have your sperm analyzed.
How long does it take for sperm to regenerate to healthy levels? While we girls need to be ‘good’ for four months before pregnancy, during the 9 months of pregnancy and during breastfeeding, you boys only need to follow simple guidelines for 120 days! Easy and simple.
How Does Alcohol Do This?Sperm is vulnerable to damage from alcohol, drugs, smoking, unhealthy food and other environmental toxins for 116 days before maturation.
What this means is that everything you ingest and get exposed to in 116 days before ejaculation has influenced the quality and quantity of that particular batch of your sperm. Hence the 120-day preconception care plan to help you and your partner optimize your egg and sperm health.
Alcohol contributes to the accumulation of female hormones and prolactin and depletes zinc and folic acid — the key nutrients required for optimal fertility and a healthy baby.
How can I boost my fertility?Male factor infertility, low sperm motility and low sperm count can be successfully addressed with specific dietary and lifestyle modifications. That’s the good news which can save you $$$ on infertility treatments and putting your partner through the unpleasant IVF treatments. As a way to increase the odds of successful IVF, Scientists highly recommend that men optimize their sperm before attempting IVF (if IVF is necessary) as a way to increase the odds of successful IVF.
Beer is a much-loved beverage among the men which can not only contribute to your infertility but also to the famous beer – gut which makes men (and women) look pregnant.
If you’d like to support your partner when she’s pregnant, by all means, grow the beer-belly (not advisable). However, while trying to conceive, lay off the beer and other alcoholic drinks for 120 days before conception.
4 Ways to Boost Fertility and Have Normal Sperm Motility, Sperm CountApart from laying off beer for 120 days before conception, there are other ways you can improve low sperm motility and boost your chances of helping your partner conceive a healthy baby.
1. Minimize Your Contact With Electromagnetic (EM) RadiationUseful for killing fast-replicating cells, radiation is highly effective in cancer treatment. Sadly, sperm is also classified as a fast-growing cell. This means that frequent contact with radiation may kill your swimmers. Like if you always put your phone in your pocket or use your laptop on your lap.
To minimize contact, put your cellphone in your jacket pocket. Also, use your laptop on a table and use EM shields/EM canceling headsets. For more advice on reducing EM radiation contact, see our blog EM Radiation and Fertility – 10 Steps to Protect Your Eggs and Sperm.
2. Give up the Processed FoodsSwap junk and processed foods with healthy foods. Choose a diet rich in organic vegetables and fruits to increase sperm count and motility.
3. Be ActiveA sedentary lifestyle comes with weight gain—and that's bad news for your sperm. Engage in physical activity. According to studies, exercise has plenty of benefits like improved circulation, better blood sugar regulation and increased muscle tone. Likewise, these benefits are also great for sperm health.
4. Keep Your Sperm CoolSperm needs to be kept at an optimal temperature, that's why the testicles are located outside the body. You can keep your sperm cool by refraining from tight-fitting underwear and wearing loose, breathable ones instead.
Final AdviceGiving up alcohol (for 120 days before TTC) can help improve low sperm motility and improve your fertility. However, when laying off beer, don’t just swap alcoholic drinks with soft drinks. As you know, soft drinks are too damaging to male and female fertility. Drink fresh-pressed juices, herbal teas and purified water instead to boost your fertility and overall health.
What are your thoughts? Are you a beer lover? Could you give up alcohol for 120 days if your sperm parameters are abnormal?
Donnelly, G. P., McClure, N., Kennedy, M. S., & Lewis, S. E. M. (1999). Direct effect of alcohol on the motility and morphology of human spermatozoa. Andrologia, 31(1), 43-47. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9949888
Kumar, N., & Singh, A. K. (2015). Trends of male factor infertility, an important cause of infertility: A review of literature. Journal of human reproductive sciences, 8(4), 191. Retrieved from: http://www.jhrsonline.org/article.asp?issn=0974-1208;year=2015;volume=8;issue=4;spage=191;epage=196;aulast=Kumar#ft25
Lam, K. K., Li, R. H., Ng, E. H., Ho, P., & Yeung, W. S. (2016). Semen Analysis - What a Clinician Should Know. In Mims-cpd.co.id. Retrieved from: http://www.mims-cpd.co.id/Portals/0/Semen%20Analysis-What%20a%20Clinican%20Should%20know.pdf
Cao, X., Cui, Y., Zhang, X., Lou, J., Zhou, J., & Wei, R. (2017). The correlation of sperm morphology with unexplained recurrent spontaneous abortion: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Oncotarget, 8(33), 55646. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5589690/