What is Low Sperm Count?
Low sperm count means that, when tested, the total amount of sperm in your semen is below a certain amount. The most current World Health Organization guidelines define low sperm count as having less than 15 million sperm in a milliliter of semen (15 million/ml).
Having low sperm count means that you have lower odds of fertilizing your partner’s egg. While it is true that it only takes one sperm to fertilize the egg, you really need a significant number of sperm to make it successfully through the obstacle course that is the female reproductive system.
If you don’t get pregnant in the first couple of months of trying to conceive, don’t worry. The statistics show that, for some couples, it just takes a bit longer to get pregnant.
- 20% will conceive within one month
- 70% will conceive within six months
- 85% will conceive within one year
It is hard to let nature take it’s course when you have baby on the brain. Fertility specialists typically want to see you after you’ve tried unsuccessfully for a year, or at the 6 month mark if you are over 35 years old.
There are many things you can do proactively to help improve your overall sperm health before you reach the 12 month “Call the Dr.” mark. Changes you make now will improve your chances of getting pregnant. Take a look at your lifestyle to see if something your are doing or dealing with on a daily basis is known to cause sperm health issues.
Environmental Causes of Low Sperm Count
- Chemical Exposure – If you have a job that requires you to work with industrial chemicals on a daily basis, that exposure could lead to a lower sperm count. Jobs that work with pesticides, solvents, or heavy metals can have a negative impact on your overall sperm health.
- Overheating Your Testicles – Your sperm like a cooler than body temperature environment. If you regularly squash your testicles close to your body with tight pants or underwear, your sperm count could suffer. Sitting for long times will also increase testicle temperature. If you are trying to get pregnant, you might also want to avoid saunas and hot tubs for the same reason.
- X-rays – If possible, ALWAYS make sure a protective apron is used if you need x-rays. This will help shield your sperm and sperm producing organs from the damaging effects. Failure to do this can cause a dramatic decrease in sperm count that can last a long time.
Lifestyle Changes to Improve Low Sperm Count
Sometimes, you can boost your sperm count by making changes to things you do on a daily basis. Some are easier to accomplish than others but all have the potential to improve your sperm count and all other aspects of male fertility. What you do and eat on a daily basis is directly related to your overall fertility.
Keep in mind, unless you have a medical cause for your low sperm count, the changes you make in your day to day life will take 2 to 3 months to show up in improved sperm health.
– Exercise Regularly – If you are a couch potato, your fertility can suffer. Research shows exercise helps balance your hormones (yes, men have fertility related hormones, too) and help improve your sperm count (and other aspects of your sperm too!).
– Quit Smoking – You already know that smoking isn’t good for your overall health. Smoking increases your risk of heart disease, stoke, cancer and a multiple of other diseases. In addition to the well known health risks, smoking can also cause a decreased sperm count and overall sperm health. Low count and low sperm quality make it more difficult for your sperm to fertilize your partner’s egg.
Oh, and let’s not forget how you smoking affects your partner’s fertility. Research has shown that exposure to secondhand smoke can cause fertility problems and earlier onset of menopause in women.
– Check Your Medications – Anabolic steroids (not good news body builders out there), antibiotics and certain medications used to control conditions like high blood pressure, ADHD and antidepressants can reduce your fertility. You can ask your prescribing doctor or pharmacist about the effects of your medications on your overall fertility.
– De-Stress – Extreme and long term stress can cause the hormones required for healthy sperm production to become unbalanced. Balance your mind and your body will go in the direction of balance as well.
Eating for Improved Sperm Health
Focus on eating foods that ensure your body has the right amount of sperm friendly nutrients. Most of these nutrients can be purchased in supplement form, but your body will benefit more if you try and incorporate them into your daily diet. Many research studies have show that the nutrients below help improve sperm count and overall male fertility. To receive the biggest nutritional and sperm count friendly benefits, you should stick with organic, grass fed, and wild caught food whenever possible.
|Nutrient Recommended for Sperm Health||Foods To Eat|
|Vitamin C||Bell Peppers (All colors), Guavas, Dark Leafy Green Vegetables (Kale and Spinach for example), Kiwifruit, Broccoli, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Peas, Papaya, Chili Peppers, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Mango|
|Zinc||Beef, Shrimp, Spinach, Flax Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Oysters, Lima Beans, Kidney Beans, Egg Yolks, Turkey, Salmon, Dark Chocolate, Beef Liver|
|Arginine||Turkey, Chicken, Pork Loin, Pumpkin Seeds, Peanuts, Dairy, Chick Peas, Lentils, All Types of Seafood|
|L-Carnitine||Beef, Pork, Whole Milk|
|Essential Fatty Acids||Salmon, Herring, Mackerel, Flax Seeds, Almonds, Walnuts, Eggs, Dark Green Vegetables|
|Chromium||Whole Grains, Broccoli, Potatoes, Raw Tomatoes, Green Beans, Barley, Oats|
|Selenium||Tuna, Shrimp, Sardines, Turkey, Chicken, Lamb, Beef, Brazil Nuts, Eggs, Spinach|
|Folic Acid||Dark Leafy Greens, Broccoli, Citrus Fruits, Beans, Peas, Lentils, Brussel Sprouts, Sunflower Seeds, Peanuts|
|Copper||Sunflower Seeds, Lentils, Almonds, Dark Chocolate, Mushrooms, Beef Liver, Oysters|
|Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)||Beef, Chicken, Salmon, Herring, Tuna, Soybean Oil, Canola Oil|
|Antioxidants||Goji Berries, Dark Chocolate, Kidney Beans, Berries, Pinto Beans, Sweet Cherries, Apples, Red or Purple Grapes, Sweet Potatoes|
It should be easy to increase your daily intake of these sperm friendly foods. Unfortunately, totally changing the way you eat isn’t always possible. Adding a fertility supplement might give you the added nutrient boost that you need to improve your count. FertilAid for Men and Countboost are two of the best selling male fertility supplements on the market. These supplements are formulated to include the scientifically proven nutrients for improving sperm count and overall sperm health.
How To Get Your Sperm Count Checked
If a doctor’s visit is daunting, you can take an at home sperm count test. These tests let you assess your sperm count in the comfort of your own home. Keep in mind, it will only let you know about sperm count. The test will not alert you if there are any problems with sperm motility or morphology.
You may discover that the sperm count appears normal with the at home test, awesome! BUT … that doesn’t mean you are off the hook. All it says is that sperm count may not be the issue. A fertility doctor visit should be your next diagnostic step.
Many men are hesitant to get a semen analysis done. Unfortunately, it’s the only way to find out if you are the reason why you and your partner not getting pregnant. You are going to have to “Suck it up, Buttercup!” and get the testing done if having a baby is important to you and your partner.
If you are trying to get pregnant and have low sperm count, these changes may help your achieve your dream.
- Visit a fertility specialist if you have been trying to conceive for over a year.
- Evaluate what you do and eat everyday and make changes if you have activities that can harm your sperm count and overall health.
- Eat healthy foods with nutrients that support healthy sperm count and overall male fertility.
- Take a fertility supplement that with ingredients that improve sperm count.
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- Kobori Y, Ota S, Sato R, Yagi H, Soh S, Arai G, Okada H. Antioxidant cosupplementation therapy with vitamin C, vitamin E, and coenzyme Q10 in patients with oligoasthenozoospermia. Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2014 Mar 28;86(1):1-4. doi: 10.4081/aiua.2014.1.1. PubMed PMID: 24704922.
- Safarinejad MR, Safarinejad S, Shafiei N, Safarinejad S. Effects of the reduced form of coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinol) on semen parameters in men with idiopathic infertility: a double-blind, placebo controlled, randomized study. J Urol. 2012 Aug;188(2):526-31. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2012.03.131. PubMed PMID: 22704112.
- The epidemiologic evidence linking prenatal and postnatal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals with male reproductive disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Human Reproduction Update, 2016, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,