Most of what you read about sperm is indirect, i.e., how to find yourself in a position where you’re going to be producing it at least once before the evening’s over, preferably without invoking a paternity suit. Yet some men actually want their sperm to complete its biological mission-fertilizing an egg-and they can’t seem to make it happen. According to the Atlanta Reproductive Health Center, there s a frustrated rather in one out of six American couples, with more than one million people consulting a physician for infertility evaluation or treatment each year. Whether you want to be a daddy or just like the idea of your potables staying potent, there are supplements and simple lifestyle changes that can put some spunk in your spunk
Pump It Up
Aerobic and resistance training tone the cardiovascular system and boost testosterone, which raises sperm production. However, anabolic steroids, while increasing testosterone levels, can downgrade other hormones, shrinking the testicles and lowering sperm count.
Snuff It Out
Tobacco smoke contains free radicals, which travel through the blood and damage sperm. Environmental pollution has similar effects, but ifs easier to give up smoking than it is to find a spot without smog or pesticides. If you can’t break the habit, take 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily to help neutralize free radicals.
Check Your Male
Vitamin E can also reduce free-radical damage. In an Israeli study published in Fertility and Sterility, subjects with normal sperm counts but low fertilization rates were given 200 IU of vitamin E every day. Alter three months, semen levels of free radicals had been reduced and the overall fertilization rate went up 30 percent.
Low sperm count and low sperm density have been linked to inadequate levels of folic acid (vitamin B9), according to researchers at the University of California at Berkeley. The study, published in Fertility and Sterility, is considered preliminary; still, it couldn’t hurt to get your official recommended Daily Value of 0.4 mg.
Ferulic acid, an antioxidant found in pycnogenol supplements, may improve sperm motility, according to research published in Free Radical Biology & Medicine. Theoretically, pycnogenol, a pine treebark extract that conditions blood vessels, might also help alleviate varicocele, a leading cause of infertility.
While you’re checking your vitamin and tree-bark intake, make sure you’re getting 15 to 20mg of zinc each day. Small amounts of zinc are needed for normal function of the prostate, which makes some of the fluid that nourishes sperm.
Nature designed your testicles, wherein sperm are produced, to keep a cool di,tan~ from the reat of your body. Heat is bad news for sperm, and some studies have found that tight briefs create a temper ature jump by pressing your privates lightly against the body. Regular hot baths could also pose a problem.
Some researchers blame the worldwide decline in sperm counts on pesticides which can mimic the effects of the feminizing hormone estrogen. Consider getting (or growing) pesticide-free organic foods, or at least wash your supermarket produce thoroughly to help reduce pesticides. A report in the Lancet found that men who ate , mostly organic foods, had sperm concentrations 43 percent higher j than those of other men.
Don’t forget about your overall diet. Eat fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants; they’ll also give your semen a sweeter taste. (If this is a concern, avoid asparagus and daily products before sex.) A low-fat diet won’t hurt, but a no-fat diet will; your body needs some fat to make testosterone.