Last updated: April 30th, 2021 at 06:15 pm
A new study published in the Journal Reproduction , addressing the question if Covid 19 effects male fertility, has been released that shows a connection. The authors of the study concluded:
“These findings provide the first direct experimental evidence that the male reproductive system could be targeted and damaged by Covid-19”
However, experts issue a caution about the findings regarding Covid 19 and male fertility, see below.
“Experts urge caution about new evidence.
Severe cases of Covid-19 might impact the quality of a man’s sperm, thus possibly impacting his fertility, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Reproduction.
Last updated: May 1st, 2021 at 02:12 pm
Anti-oxidants help protect your body from free radical damage to the cells in your entire body. Around 40% of sperm damage is thought to be caused by these free-oxidising radicals. Anti-oxidants can help combat these negative effects.
Food sources: Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, plums, garlic, broccoli, red peppers, kale, brussel sprouts and alfalfa sprouts.
These are the building blocks of life and are necessary for egg and sperm production. (note: Some healthcare practitioners will prescribe amino acids such as l-arginine to enhance fertility-do not take this is if you have the herpes virus as it can cause outbreaks).
Food sources: Meats, fish, eggs and dairy produce, lentils, peas, beans, nuts, brown rice, quinoa, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
This is essential for the production of male sex hormones. It is also important for the upkeep of the semeniferous tubules. A deficiency in this vitamin has been shown to reduce sperm volume and count and increase abnormal sperm.
Food sources: Eggs, yellow fruits & vegetables, whole milk & milk products, dark green leafy vegetables and oily fish.
This is essential for the formation of male sex hormones. A deficiency of B6 has been shown to cause infertility in animals. B6 must be taken together with zinc because zinc is needed for the absorption of B6.
Food sources: Whole grains, nuts, brown rice, organ and other meats, egg yolks, fish, poultry, pulses, seeds, green leafy vegetables, molasses and brewer’s yeast.
B12 and folate are needed for the synthesis of DNA and RNA. These make up the blueprint for the genetic code of the entire body. Low levels can cause abnormal sperm production, reduced sperm counts and reduced sperm motility.
Food sources: The only reliable sources of B12 are animal products, in particular lamb, sardines and salmon.
This is needed for sperm production, count, motility and low morphological abnormalities. Vitamin C aids the absorption of folate.
Food sources: Dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, organ meats, brewer’s yeast, root vegetables, whole grains, oysters, salmon, milk, pulses, asparagus, oatmeal, dried figs and avocados.
This is needed for the production of healthy sperm. It can increase the count and motility of sperm and has been shown to reduce the clumping of sperm. Low vitamin C levels have been linked with an increase in birth defects.
Food sources: Citrus fruits, cherries, cantaloupe melon, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet peppers, black currants, mangoes, grapes, kiwi, pineapples, asparagus, peas, potatoes, parsley, watercress, spinach & alfalfa sprouts.
There are high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids found in sperm cell membranes and vitamin E helps to protect them from free radical damage. Vitamin E may also help the sperm penetrate the egg. A deficiency of vitamin E leads to permanent degeneration of testicular tissues. Vitamin E also has anticoagulant properties. Note: supplement of the natural (d-alpha-tocopherol) as opposed to the synthetic (dl-alpha-tocopherol) is more easily utilised and retained in the body for longer.
Food sources: Cold pressed oils, wheat germ, organ meats, eggs, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, avocados and molasses.
This is needed to properly shape sperm and to maintain count. Deficiency may cause infertility. There are cells with a high lipid (fat) content in semen and selenium helps to protect them from free radical damage. It may also have a key role in the proper functioning of the epididymis (which is related to sperm maturation and motility).
Food sources: Tuna, herring, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, bran, whole grains and sesame seeds.
A deficiency may cause testicular degeneration, congenital malformations, sterility, low sex drive, low sperm count, an increase in the number of cells that degenerate in the epididymis and inhibition of the synthesis of sex hormones. Note: Manganese competes with iron for absorption, it is advisable to take it with vitamin C and protein foods.
Food sources: Whole grains, green leafy vegetables, carrots, broccoli, ginger, pulses, nuts, pineapples, eggs, oats & rye.
This is the most critical trace element mineral for male sexual function. It is needed for testosterone metabolism, testicle growth, sperm production, motility, count, reducing excess oestrogen in male reproductive tissue. Deficiencies of zinc are quite common. Zinc is important for cell division and the production of healthy sperm.. Every time a man ejaculates he loses about 5mg of zinc. Alcohol depletes zinc. Vitamin B6 and C may aid in the absorption of zinc. The following may inhibit the absorption of zinc: folic acid, tea, coffee, high fibre intake and iron.
Food sources: Lean meat, fish, seafood, chicken, eggs, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, rye, oats, whole grains, pulses, ginger root, parsley, mushrooms, brewer’s yeast and wheat germ.
This is important for energy production because Co-Q10 assists with the mitochondrial functions of your body’s cells-this means it provides power to all your body’s functions. It is found in every cell in the human body. CoQ10 is present in large amounts in seminal fluid. It gives sperm energy (along with fructose) and increases sperm motility. It also improves blood flow and fertilisation rates may rise when taking this supplement.
Food sources: It is extremely difficult to obtain sufficient amounts of Co-Q10 from food sources. Supplementation is a reliable way of increasing your intake.
The EFA’s DHA act as hormone regulators and are very important when trying to conceive. Sperm contain high concentrations of Omega 3 EFA’s particularly DHA. Most DHA is in the sperm tail and is thought to play a role in motility. Omega 3 DHA and Omega 6 are important structural elements of cell membranes, body tissue and brain development in a foetus.
Food sources: Mackerel, herring, salmon or sardines.
Always consult your doctor for medical advice and before taking any supplements, herbs or vitamins, especially if you are doing IVF.
Last updated: May 1st, 2021 at 12:40 pm
The good news about sperm is that men make their sperm from scratch. Unlike women who are born with their eggs, men can greatly influence the quality of their sperm. What goes in can create healthy healthy, good quality sperm. Also, the environment they develop in can have an effect on how they develop. For instance if the genitals are too hot it can be bad for healthy sperm development.
When a man has a basic semen analysis, the results highlight 3 parameters:
Several studies have shown that there is a direct link between male lifestyle factors and unhealthy sperm contributing to the infertility couples experience. A Harvard study released in October 2011 showed that consuming junk food that is high in trans fats can make young men infertile by damaging their sperm. Click here to read more about it.
Another study reported and published by Fertility and Sterility, 11/10/2011, showed that the following lifestyle factors contributed to un healthy sperm:
It takes about 3 months to make new sperm so there is a lot that can be improved upon in that short time. Cutting out alcohol, cigarettes, coffee and red meat will go a long way. Adding in healthy foods and moderate exercise can take things to the next level. Quality ingredients make for a quality product.
Always consult your doctor for medical advice, explanations of medical tests & procedures.
Last updated: May 1st, 2021 at 09:18 am
The Irish Independent reported this week on a talk given by Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Louis Keith in Dublin relating to the role of nutrition generally in male fertility rates and in particular the role of micro-nutrients in sperm quality.
Dr Keith pays particular regard to folic acid and zinc. He points to the fact that fertility and infertility are symptoms of health and well-being and should not be viewed in isolation. I reiterate that view- your general mental and physical health are the base for reproductive health. Nutrition for male fertility is an important tool in improving general health.
Dr Keith further discusses clomid and its effects on female fertility pointing to a general diversity of effects of the the drug in term of number of offspring. He also points to the value of nutrition for female fertility in terms of improved fertility rates.
Last updated: May 1st, 2021 at 09:43 am
Click on link below to podcast from the Last Word on Today FM, September 2013 on the issue of how men can improve their fertility. Matt spoke to Dr Louis Keith Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University Chicago.