When trying to conceive a child naturally, a healthy sperm count is necessary. Although only one sperm fertilizes the egg, having healthy sperm increases the chances of pregnancy. A decent sperm count also points to better health.
In a study from Endocrine study, men with lower sperm count had worse health. Lower sperm count was accompanied by more fat percentage and higher blood pressure.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem also found that sperm counts among Western men are getting lower. It found that the sperm count in Western men has dropped over 50% over the last 40 years. There is no exact reason behind this issue, but there are many everyday habits that affect sperm count. Average sperm production takes 60 to 90 days. This means you can reverse the effects of your bad lifestyle in two to three months.
We have compiled a list of some everyday habits that lower your sperm count. You should take note of these habits and make suitable changes. These lifestyle changes can drastically improve your fertility.
8 Bad Habits that will Lower Your Serm Count
1. Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol has a wide range of effects on your body that often lead to the destruction of sperm cells. Alcohol is a toxin that has oxygen-free radicals which destroy sperm. Alcohol also has an effect on the Liver and adversely affects its toxin removal process. This means more toxins accumulated in your body, some of which can harm your sperm.
Some studies suggest some amount of alcohol consumption is good for your sperm quality. But there is too much evidence suggesting heavy use of alcohol affecting sperm count. Chronic use of alcohol also speedily converts testosterone into estradiol. This adversely affects sperm quality.
Smoking tobacco or marijuana affects sperm quality and count—the toxins from smoking travel from the lungs through the circulatory system to the testicles. A 2015 study in Postgraduate Medical Journal showed that cigarette smoke could lower sperm count by 17.5%. Also, a study suggested that smoking marijuana can lower sperm count by 28 percent.
Smoking damages your blood vessels, and your testicles need suitable blood flow. This means smoking can affect the blood flow to your testicles, causing damage to sperm count and quality.
Smoking cigarettes also introduces a lot of carcinogens. We know that testicles are highly sensitive to toxins, and smoking adversely affects them. There is also a study suggesting smoking can affect your DNA, hence affecting the DNA of your child.
3. Too Much Stress
Stress has become a part of our lifestyle and has varying effects on health. A study from Columbia University states that too much stress can harm sperm count and sperm quality. Men taking too much stress will have lower concentrations of sperm. Stress also leads to higher levels of the hormone glucocorticoid. Stress can have a negative effect on the production of sperm and testosterone.
Also, taking antidepressants or such medication can even worsen the problem. Some of these medicines even lead to issues in erectile dysfunction and affect the amount of ejaculation. To tackle this, you can do stress-busting activities like yoga or meditation. Reducing stress is essential for better fertility and higher sperm count.
4. Eating Too Much Soy or Processed Meat
Too much soy has adverse effects on men’s sexual health. A study from Oxford showed that men eating a serving of soy every day for three months had 41 million sperms/ml less as compared to men who did not consume any soy products. This is due to the presence of phytoestrogen, a plant hormone having a similar effect as estrogen. It is also true that fat cells convert testosterone into estradiol.
The presence of estradiol hurts sperm production and leads to lower sperm count. Processed meat also adversely affects sperm production leading to lower sperm count. Processed meat like pepperoni or bacon is harmful for sperm production and reduces sperm quality. Although, the reason behind this is still unknown.
5. Not Consuming Enough Folic Acid
Folic Acid is an important B-vitamin for DNA synthesis. The deficiency of Folic Acid will affect sperm count and motility. Earlier, Folic Acid was an important part of female prenatal health. Folic Acid combined with zinc results in a 75% increase in total sperm count.
According to Baratz, folic Acid even affects the next generation. The presence of folic Acid affects how conditions like cardiac disease or cancer are inherited.
6. Sitting for Too Long
Since the testicles are located in between your legs, a lot of heat is generated. Even if you are sitting with crossed legs, it produces a high amount of heat in the region. This ultimately harms sperm production and reduces sperm count. It is also true that doing some vigorous activity increases sperm count and sperm concentration.
7. Overuse of Smartphones
Everyone knows about the radiation emitted by smartphones and other mobiles. Scientists have been studying the effects of mobile radiation on sperm count for a long time now.
A 2014 study in the Central European Journal for Urology found similar indications. It was stated that men who kept their mobiles in their front pockets had lower sperm counts. This lower sperm count was also accompanied by an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation.
In 2015, a study indicated that sperm exposed to smartphone radiation had lower sperm motility. This study was conducted by the International Journal of Fertility and Sterility. The study also found that these sperms had a significant increase in sperm DNA fragmentation.
8. Not Ejaculating Enough
This is a common misconception that higher ejaculation leads to lowering sperm count. This is not true, and many studies have shown that regular ejaculation leads to higher quality sperms. In a study by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, the same was found.
This study indicated that men who ejaculated every day for a week had better quality sperms at the end.
Frequent sexual activity is important for positive sexual health. It has been found that the fewer time sperms spend in testicles, the less likely they are to be damaged. Frequent ejaculation also led to lower sperm DNA fragmentation. Lower sperm DNA fragmentation leads to better chances of fertilization.
However, there needs to be a balance between ejaculation and sexual health. Higher or lower periods of abstinence causes lower sperm count and sperm motility. Sperm samples taken after two days of abstinence showed the highest number of motile sperm.
Due to this reason, most fertility clinics ask patients not to ejaculate for two or three days. It is also true that old sperms start to die if ejaculations are sporadic. You should know that less frequent ejaculation leads to less active sperm. Health experts suggest ejaculating two or three times a week to maintain production.
9. Drinking Too Much Coffee
Normal caffeine consumption does not affect the health of sperms. Here, moderate consumption means less than 300 milligrams a day. This means you should not consume more than two cups of coffee every day. So, your likeness for coffee can lead to adverse effects on your sperm. A 2017 study from Nutrition Journal stated that consuming more than four cups of coffee can lead to abnormally shaped sperms.
These habits have adverse effects on sperm count. We advise you to change them immediately to have a better sperm count and quality. Due to the fast rate of sperm production, you can get rid of all the negative effects in few months. If you want better chances of fertility, you should dial back on these habits immediately.