Lifestyle and Nutritional Recommendations

There are steps you can take to increase your chances of getting pregnant naturally.

If you are trying to achieve a pregnancy with your partner, but are facing infertility challenges, there are lifestyle changes that can improve the probability of achieving pregnancy.  While the data regarding these recommendations is mixed, these natural approaches may be helpful to improve male fertility and your overall health.  Any lifestyles that impact general health in a negative fashion will also have a negative impact on male reproductive function. What is good for your general health, will be good for sperm as well.

We Recommend:

  • Discontinue tobacco use.
  • Limit alcohol consumption: Consumption of more than 1-2 drinks per day can have a negative effect on sperm.
  • Avoid exposure to heat: Avoid exposures to prolonged heat. Do not rest a laptop in the genital area for long periods of time. Hot tub use should be restricted to temperatures of 97 degrees or lower.
  • Maintain a healthy diet: Eat green, leafy vegetables, fruit, nuts, and fish.  Focus on eating a balanced diet as this will include the most important vitamins and minerals that are important to male fertility.  Minimize any soy intake as it contains small amounts of estrogen which may negatively impact male fertility.
  • Reduce stress: Practice stress reduction techniques.  Seek counseling if stress cannot be self-reduced.
  • Know the side effects of your medications. Certain medications can affect sperm quality.  Tell your doctor all of the medications you are taking as sometimes they can be adjusted to improve fertility potential.
  • There is a difference between healthy exercise and overdoing it.  Regular exercise is good, but excessive training (e.g. marathons) and excessive weight loss can result in hormone imbalances that may affect fertility.
  • Address concerns about erectile ejaculatory and other sexual functions with your doctor.
  • Do not use illicit drugs. Drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, and performance enhancers such as anabolic steroids have negative effects on sperm. Use of anabolic steroids that contain testosterone will lower sperm counts towards zero.
  • Do not use most over-the-counter lubricants (e.g. KY Jelly, Astroglide, Surgilube) as they are toxic and can limit movement of the sperm. Saliva is also thought to be detrimental. If you do want and/or need to use a lubricant, we recommend Pre-Seed, a lubricant that has been shown to be very safe for sperm.

Review your vitamin and supplement intake, as it is thought that taking some vitamins may help your chances of improving sperm quality and quantity. Vitamins are believed to work as a result of blocking substances called “free radicals.”  A higher concentration of free radicals is found in the semen of infertile men as compared to fertile men. Free radicals may injure the sperm, and antioxidants are substances that can prevent this damage. They may be naturally-occurring and present in certain foods (pomegranates or grape juice) or may be present in some vitamins. Vitamin C and Vitamin E are considered antioxidants. 

We suggest: Vitamin C - 500-1000mg per day; Vitamin E - 400-800 I.U. per day (larger quantities may be dangerous). 

We advise against taking excessive vitamins as this may be dangerous!

The dietary supplement Carnitine may play a role in sperm function, and consumption of three grams a day has been shown in some studies to improve sperm quality. Most other supplements such as zinc, selenium, folate, and coenzyme Q-10 are not necessary.  If you are eating a balanced diet, most of these supplements will already be present.

Be careful of vitamins and supplements that claim they help male fertility. Read the ingredients. Many of these contain ingredients that are not necessary, and may contain lower doses of vitamins thnt are recommended.

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