So what can you do to make your sperm stronger? I'm often asked this question, as poor sperm quality, low sperm motility, poor sperm morphology and low sperm counts are major contributing causes of miscarriages and account for nearly half of all cases of infertility. But before we delve into what you can do to make sperm stronger let's take a look at what could be contributing to this sudden drop in sperm quality and quantity.
3 Things That May Be Killing Your Sperm
1. High-tech GadgetsSmartphones, iPads, smartwatches and fitness trackers, laptops, computers — they are fun to use, they serve a purpose and we can’t live without them. But, they are also sources of EM (electromagnetic) radiation.
Radiation targets fast-growing and replicating cells, which is why it’s so useful for cancer treatment. Sperm cells, however also fall into this category. Cancer patients are often asked to freeze their sperm prior to chemotherapy and radiation therapy since these treatments have a devastating effect on the sperm.
Men, unfortunately, don’t carry purses so the only logical place for them to put their mobile phones is in their pocket. The trouble with this is that your testicles are now close to a source of EM radiation so powerful that it needs to be able to send and receive signals from satellites in space! Now, do you think this is a good idea if you need to make sperm stronger? No, certainly not!
Recommendation: If you want to make your sperm stronger, avoid EMF as much as possible. Carry your mobile phone in your jacket pocket and when you are sitting down somewhere pull it out on the table. Also try to only use EMF canceling headsets to make calls from it as holding the mobile phone frequently up to your ear is also not such a good idea for the brain long term!
2. Convenience DietsLet’s face it, we all work long hours and by the time we get home we are tired, hungry and often faced with an empty fridge. This especially applies when both partners work full-time. When this happens, take-out, pizza and other home-delivery fast food options start to look appealing – which is not the way to make sperm stronger!
Unfortunately, these take-out foods are laden with trans-fats, artificial colors, taste enhancers, food additives, pesticides, hormones and preservatives. These sub-optimal building blocks are only going to contribute to poor quality sperm. To make sperm stronger and of good quality, you need lots of good fats such as omega 3, 6 and 9, CoQ10, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, selenium and good quality amino acids for staying healthy.
Recommendation: Go shopping on the weekend at your local markets! Stock up your fridge with healthy and organic food options, so you’ll always have healthy snacks on hand which will tide you over while you prepare a healthy dinner.
A few examples of foods to stock up on:
- apples, oranges, lemons, bananas and other fruits;
- vegetables like carrots, peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers;
- tasty dips like hummus (made from chickpeas) and guacamole (made from avocados);
- and nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, pistachios and pumpkin seeds
3. A Sedentary LifestyleEight to ten hours sitting in front of your computer, followed by half an hour's drive to your home, followed by three to four hours on the couch and then seven to eight hours sleeping in your bed. What is wrong with this picture? There is no physical activity!
We used to be nomads who could walk from one end of a continent to the other in a year! And guess what? Our body and metabolism are still wired the same way. But we don’t use our muscles as much anymore so our sedentary lifestyle contributes to weight gain. And this is very bad news for your sperm.
In men, abdominal fat is particularly bad. Fat is not just an inert blob of jiggly mass. Oh no! It’s a little hormone factory signaling our brain and endocrine system 24/7! It influences our appetite and also regulates your testosterone levels. Too much abdominal fat = too much estrogen. Too much estrogen in men leads to poor sperm quality and unfortunately predisposes to man-boobs!
Recommendation: Be more active and engage in regular physical activity. Exercise has plenty of health benefits including better moods, blood sugar regulation, increased circulation, stress management and improved muscle tone — all of which can contribute to better sperm health. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.
Other Factors That May Influence Sperm QualityApart from the lifestyle factors above, other factors that may influence your sperm quality include:
- increasing age
- testicular disease
- pituitary/hypothalamus problems (secondary hypogonadism)
- sperm transport disorders
What Determines Sperm Health?If you and your partner are trying to conceive, you must aim to have healthy sperm, since healthy sperm is a good indicator of fertility. In men, overall sperm health is determined by several factors:
- Quantity (sperm count). How much sperm is enough for pregnancy? The healthy amount of sperm cells for every milliliter of ejaculate should be greater than 40 million. Men with lower sperm counts may find it more difficult to get their partners pregnant.
- Structure (sperm morphology). Men with a good number of normal-looking sperm (oval heads and long tails) and a minimal number of abnormal sperm are more likely to be fertile.
- Movement (sperm motility). Healthy sperms swim fast and in a straight line to be able to reach and fertilize the egg.
7 Tips to Make Sperm Stronger & Increase Sperm Count
1. Don't Carry Your Mobile Phone in Your PocketGet a man bag, or if this is too much for you, get one of those iPod arm sleeves for sports and carry it around your arm. Always remove all EM emitting gadgets from your body when you arrive at work/home. Alternatively, switch your phone on flight mode while carrying it with you or invest in special underwear which shields from radiation like the Spartan brand in Europe or BellyArmor in the USA.
2. Don't Sit With Your Laptop on Your LapFor similar reasons as carrying your mobile phone in your pocket, you should not work with your laptop in your lap. Close proximity to your testicles can damage sperm and not to mention the thermic heat emitted from the laptop which can also slow-cook your sperm batch.
3. Get a Q-LinkThese EM shields have been extensively studied and work by enhancing your body's own EM shield, which offers more resistance to other sources of EM radiation and in so doing protects you from their negative influence.
4. Snack on Pumpkin Seeds and Brazil NutsPumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc and men need lots of zinc! Men lose some of their zinc reserves with each ejaculation. If you have white spots and lines on more than one fingernail you have a zinc deficiency. A handful of pumpkin seeds a day should ensure you are getting your zinc. Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium, another mineral important for healthy sperm. Eat 3-4 Brazil nuts a day
5. Get Those Muscles WorkingStrong muscles contribute to fat burn, regulate your metabolism and make you look good! Exercise is one of the best things you can do to boost your health. It boosts your immune system, improves your blood circulation (which is very important for strong and lasting erections), helps sweat out toxins, improves sleep quality, improves your mood via the surge of endorphins experienced after exercise and boosts your testosterone which you need to make sperm stronger.
6. Have a Green Smoothie a DayA handful of baby spinach, one banana, one apple, a handful of frozen berries, one whole organic lemon with the peel and filtered water according to taste, blend until it reaches a smooth consistency and drink! One of these a day in the morning will ensure you get your fresh enzymes, minerals and vitamins for the day.
7. Keep Your Swimmers CoolThere is a reason why testicles are located outside of your body (unlike ovaries, which are tucked nicely inside). Your swimmers don't like it hot! They need to be 1-2 degrees cooler than your body, hence the scrotum! Too much heat can damage sperm, so make sure that you wear loose, breathable underwear, and at night keep your testicles from overheating by sleeping with only light covers or a la nature (naked)!
And Remember, It Takes Time to Produce New Sperm...It takes 76 - 90 days for your body to produce a new batch of sperm so whatever changes you implement, you will need to stick with them for at least 76 - 90 days to see the improvements. You can do a small experiment, have a sperm analysis done now, then implement the changes and have your sperm retested after 90 days! I would love to see those before and after results so send them through!
Sifferlin, A. (2017, July 25). Men's sperm counts are dropping worldwide: Study. Time. Retrieved from: http://time.com/4871540/infertility-men-sperm-count/
Levine, H., Jørgensen, N., Martino-Andrade, A., Mendiola, J., Weksler-Derri, D., Mindlis, I., ... & Swan, S. H. (2017). Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis. Human reproduction update, 23(6), 646-659. Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/humupd/article/23/6/646/4035689
Avendaño, C., Mata, A., Sanchez Sarmiento, C. A., & Doncel, G. F. (2012). Use of laptop computers connected to internet through wi-fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation. Fertility and Sterility, 97(1). Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.10.012
Agger, P. (1971). Scrotal and testicular temperature: Its relation to sperm count before and after operation for varicocele*. Fertility and Sterility, 22(5), 286–297. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1016/s0015-0282(16)38223-1