There’s a Fertility Crisis. How Men, In Particular, Can Be Proactive
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder
You probably heard about climate crisis and, of course, we have been battling a COVID-19 crisis for nearly a year now. But did you know about the fertility crisis?
According to epidemiologist Shanna Swan, who co-authored a recent study on sperm counts, by the year 2045 sperm counts could be as low as zero! She also wrote a book about this crisis.
“In the book, Swan and co-author Stacey Colino explore how modern life is threatening sperm counts, changing male and female reproductive development and endangering human life,” according to an article discussing Swan’s work.
“It points to lifestyle and chemical exposures that are changing and threatening human sexual development and fertility. Such is the gravity of the threats they pose, she argues, that humans could become an endangered species."
But what exactly is a sperm count?
To state the obvious, sperm count is the number of sperm a male currently has. This count is determined through a semen analysis (this test also measures sperm quality). Unlike females who are born with all of the eggs that they will have in life, males make sperm throughout their lives.
A normal sperm count is at least 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen. Some males produce up to 200 million sperm per milliliter of semen. A low sperm count, medically called oligospermia, is anything below the 15 million mark.
Sperm count declines somewhat with age. But I think for young males who are interested in having children, it’s important to know that unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking excessively may affect sperm quantity as well as sperm quality.
Swan also attributes issues with sperm count to chemicals that we come across in our daily environment from plastics, cosmetics and pesticides. We can help reduce exposure to such chemicals by using reusable water bottles instead of buying plastic, eating organic when possible and using natural cosmetics where possible.
“No one knows why sperm counts are falling precipitously. Some say sperm are vanishing due to men resting laptops on their laps. Others blame the heat generated from cell phones sitting in pants pockets. Obesity is a likely factor. The doctor in me knows that the drop is likely due to a variety of factors,” according to one doctor.
“What we eat is always a culprit for any health problem. Accordingly, several studies suggest that consuming certain foods may harm sperm. The good news is that there are also foods that may increase sperm count.”
As you may have already guessed, avoiding processed foods and maintaining a nutrient-rich diet with plenty of whole foods is best for sperm count.
Nutrients to improve fertility.
There are many nutrients that can help with sperm quantity and quality such as vitamins C and A. Check out the older pH Labs blog, Fertility & Food, What Men Need to Know.
Men should also consider having their nutrient levels tested to make sure their body is getting enough of them, and in the right amounts, to promote fertility.
Testing provides the opportunity to work with a competent healthcare provider to address imbalances. Lastly, keep in mind that making appropriate lifestyle changes to boost sperm quantity and quality may not produce immediate results, so it may take a little while before changes are noticeable. But the good news is that if you are proactive, you can see major results.
And read here for information on how to boost female fertility.
Enjoy your healthy life!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.