The low sperm count –together with sperm mobility and morphology– affects the quality of semen and influences male fertility. Know its causes and how to increase it to facilitate pregnancy.
How you can increase sperm count
If the cause of poor sperm quality is determined and can be treated, for example in the case of varicocele, this could solve the problem. However, in most patients, it is not possible to identify a specific cause, and the sperm shortage is almost always due to the sum of various factors.
In certain cases, recommendations are made to the patient, and the specialist in andrology gives as an example that if the man presents a fragmentation of the spermatic DNA chain –which is one of the factors that affect the quality of the semen– it is indicated that Avoid drinking excitements like coffee, tea, or energy drinks because they affect the DNA of semen.
At other times, he continues, patients are given vitamin complexes for two to three months – which is the time it takes for sperm to form – to try to find out if the problem is due to a vitamin deficiency and see if it improves the quality since even if the expected results are not obtained, these are guidelines that will not harm them either.
Tips to prevent or increase a low sperm count
Reversing low sperm count seems complicated, but over the past few decades researchers have found that sperm quality and fertility rates have declined in most Western countries; in fact, a study published in 2017 in the Human reproduction update revealed that the average sperm count in Australia, North America, Europe and New Zealand had dropped by 59.3%. This means that there are factors that are influencing the sperm to have poorer quality.
Although scientists still do not know what exactly those factors are, some research has found that certain habits can prevent or contribute to this loss of seminal quality. We tell you what you must do to improve your semen and thus increase your fertility:
Control weight and exercise
Weight loss and exercise in overweight or obese individuals can improve or increase sperm count, and a study published in Hospital Nutrition revealed that a 16-week program of moderate aerobic exercise, in sessions of at least 50 minutes, three times a week, it increased sperm volume and concentration in 45 sedentary obese men.
Reduce stress levels
The continued stress forces the body to remain on the defensive, so it is more focused on overcoming adversity and less reproduce. Learning to cope with stressful situations helps reduce its negative effects.
Give up smoking
Tobacco use significantly reduces semen quality, according to the results of a review of 20 studies carried out in 2016 and published in Science Direct, and in which 5,865 men participated.
Avoid alcohol and other drugs
Although not many studies have looked at the relationship between sperm health and drug use, some researchers have associated the use of drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine with declining sperm production.
Do not abuse certain medications
Some drugs can affect the quality of semen, although it can normalize after stopping taking them; this is the case of some antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antipsychotics, anabolic steroids, corticosteroids, etc.
Take fenugreek supplements
The fenugreek has been used as a natural remedy to improve the health of sperm, and a study published in 2017 on Functional Foods in Health & Disease concludes that Furosap, a food supplement made from extracts of this plant, significantly improves levels testosterone and sperm profile.
Maintain adequate levels of calcium and vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D seem to have a certain influence on sperm health, as some studies, such as the one published in Human reproduction, have shown that low levels of both micronutrients are associated with a lower sperm count, although they are not they know the causes of this association.
This plant, also known as Indian ginseng, has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as a natural remedy to treat various forms of sexual dysfunction. And research, published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, showed that eating 675 mg of ashwagandha daily for 90 days caused a 167% increase in sperm count in the 47 men who participated in the study and that at the beginning of it had a low count.
Increase the amount of antioxidant-rich foods in the daily diet
Antioxidants (such as selenium, vitamins C and E, coenzyme Q10, or glutathione ) help eliminate and deactivate free radicals and other substances that damage cells and numerous studies have associated their consumption with an increased sperm count.
Cut down on unhealthy fats
According to the results of a study published in 2014 in Human reproduction, and in which 209 healthy Spanish men aged between 18 and 23 participated, their sperm count decreased when they increased their consumption of trans fats.
Eliminate or limit exposure to toxins and occupational or environmental pollutants
Air pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals have frequently been associated with decreased quality and total sperm count.
Limit consumption of soy and other foods with phytoestrogens
Some foods containing phytoestrogens have been observed to reduce testosterone adhesion and sperm production.
Take enough folate and zinc
Some studies have shown that the combined consumption of zinc and folic acid increases sperm quality, including concentration and total sperm count.