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Want Healthier Sperm? Then Get Ready to Get Naked

July 3, 2018
Katie Visco

Who knew something as simple as throwing your clothes off before hitting the sack could improve sperm health? Researchers from Stanford University and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NCIHD) in Maryland found that men who wore boxers during the day and then ditched them at night suffered 25 percent less damaged genetic material in their sperm than those who kept their underwear on in their sleep. This is due to the fact that male sexual organs are heat sensitive, and therefore undergo impaired sperm production at high temperatures. Still, more research is required to confirm whether or not this trend influences conception success.

Read on to learn more techniques to improve sperm health.  

  • Sperm health 101
  • Ditch bad habits
  • Aim to achieve a healthy diet and lifestyle

Sperm health 101

testing

In order to maximize your efforts in improving your sperm health, it is important that you understand it in biological terms. You already know from 7th-grade sex-ed that sperm is the reproductive cell whose role is to fuse with a female egg cell to (eventually) produce a baby.

However, it is also important to note its sensitivity to heat. In fact, the testicles hang outside the body in order to preserve sperm from unfavorable body heat. Even small sources of heat can result in sperm damage.

Common sources of heat include:

  • Laptops
  • Cell phones
  • Hot showers, baths, tubs, etc.
  • Cooking and grilling
  • Biking

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should quit grilling or biking altogether. Rather, avoid exposing your groin area to heat for extended periods of time. This means remembering small things such as taking breaks as you cook and avoiding long showers. If you want to go the extra mile, consider icing your testicles to reverse the effects of daily heat exposure to them.

Ditch bad habits

cigarettes

Alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, and drugs are all found to lead to decreased sperm counts.

Cut down on the beer

A beer every now and then never hurt anybody. Nonetheless, limiting alcohol intake can help increase your chances of becoming a dad. While one to two normal-sized drinks a day is fine, any more can decrease sperm production and increase abnormalities.

Kick (cigarette) butts

Cigarettes can damage your health through numerous ways --low sperm counts and slow-moving sperm being a couple of them. While immediately kicking the habit is certainly the best choice you can make for yourself, at the very least try quitting three months before you try to conceive.

According to Suzanne Kavic, M.D., director of the division of reproductive endocrinology at Loyola University Health System, “Sperm production takes about three months, so any changes the man makes today won’t show up in the semen for at least three months.”

Limit caffeine consumption

A Danish study recently found that men who had a high caffeine intake suffered a reduction in sperm count and concentration. Physicians recommend that men limit their caffeine consumption to 300 milligrams a day. This includes coffee, chocolate, energy drinks, and tea.

Quit recreational drug use

Illicit drugs, such as marijuana and other amphetamines, have also been shown to damage sperm. Lisa Mazzullo, M.D., co-author of Before Your Pregnancy: A 90-Day Guide for Couples on How to Prepare for a Healthy Conception, says that “Sperm may be damaged by these drugs, and women are more likely to miscarry if their partners use recreational drugs.”      

Aim to achieve a healthy diet and lifestyle

Living a healthy and nourishing life will, in turn, give you a healthy body. Make sure your diet includes fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, grains, and dairy. And don’t forget to hit the gym.

For further information on how you can improve your diet, check out these tips on diet changes that can help you produce healthier sperm.

Increase folic acid intake

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that men with low levels of folic acid in their diet experienced high rates of abnormal chromosomes in their sperm. Sperm containing abnormal chromosomes can cause a miscarriage or birth defects in a baby.

While you can take folic acid pills, you could also take a multivitamin or consume foods high in folate. These include:

  • Beans
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Citrus fruits
  • Folate-enriched cereals
  • Bread
  • Pasta

Aim to consume 400 milligrams of folic acid daily.

Take prenatal vitamins

In order to create strong, healthy, mobile sperm, men should begin taking supplements six months before trying for conception. The vitamins should include B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, and Selenium. Sherry Ross, M.D., OB/GYN, author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health, says that “Zinc is helpful in maintaining normal testosterone levels. Selenium has been shown to reduce the risk of birth defects and improve low sperm counts.”

Attempting to conceive can be stressful, so don’t forget to take care of yourself by eating and sleeping well, exercising regularly, and taking time out for a social life. All of these will only benefit you in the long run.

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