|Botanical|| Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris)
| ||Tribestan, an extract of tribulus, administered to males with reduced sperm count of unknown cause or with sperm disturbances due to varicocele, has been shown to result in increased concentration of sperm, increased percentage of motile sperm and, in some cases, an increase in the volume of ejaculate by 1-2ml.|
Ginseng, Korean - Chinese / Asian (Panax ginseng)
| ||A double-blind trial with a large group of infertile men over a 3 month period found that 4gm of Asian ginseng per day improved sperm count and motility. [Panmineva Med 1996;38: pp.249-54]|
Maca (Lepidium meyenii)
| ||Another study was designed to determine the effect of a 4-month oral treatment with tablets of maca on seminal analysis in adult normal men aged 24-44 years old. Nine men received tablets of maca (1500 or 3000mg) for 4 months. Serum luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, prolactin, testosterone and estradiol levels were measured before and after treatment. Treatment with maca resulted in increased seminal volume, sperm count per ejaculation, and sperm motility. Serum hormone levels were not altered.|
| ||Despite what many people believe, moderate marijuana use does not change the levels of sex hormones levels such as testosterone. A study at the University of Iowa found that use of marijuana does not affect the testosterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, prolactin and cortisol in men and women. Reproductive damage from marijuana use by males not been proven yet. One study did show that there was a relationship between marijuana use and a low sperm count. The sperm count is also increased to normal when the user stops taking marijuana. |
The small number of human studies on the effects of cannabis on male reproductive function have produced mixed results. Studies have produced both positive and negative evidence of an effect of cannabinoids on testosterone, for reasons
that are not well understood. [Institute of Medicine (1982) Marijuana and Health. Washington, DC: National Academy Press] It has been conjectured that reductions in testosterone and spermatogenesis probably require long-term exposure. [Pharmacological Reviews 1986, 38, pp.1-20] Current research suggests only a possible link between the use of marijuana and low sperm count, impotence, and gynecomastia. Greater caution is advised for females who may become pregnant.
| ||Research has indicated that men who drank two to three cups of coffee a day had an increased incidence of abnormally formed sperm. Having five cups a day appears to make sperm sluggish as well.|
| ||Chronic alcohol abuse, but not moderate consumption, damages the intricate plumbing of the male reproductive system, reducing a man's ability to produce normally formed sperm. Please see the 2012 link between Infertility, Male and Chemical Avoidance.|
Conventional Drugs / Information
| ||The use of anabolic androgenic steroids among young men is significant.These exogenous androgens depress testicular production of testosterone and, thus, intra-testicular testosterone levels. This may cause a low or zero sperm count. It has been suggested that there can be a persistent depression of the hypothalamus and pituitary which may be irreversible, even when the steroids are stopped.|
| ||These findings were published in the journal Human Reproduction (June 2012). The researchers found that the proportion of men who had low numbers of swimming sperm was similar whether they had never been a smoker or were smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day. Similarly, there was little evidence of any risk associated with alcohol consumption.|
Infertility was most strongly linked with having had previous testicular surgery, being of black ethnicity or working in a manual occupation.
Professor Nicola Cherry, now at the University of Alberta, Canada, said: "The higher risk we found in manual workers is consistent with earlier findings that chemicals at work could affect sperm and that men should continue to keep work exposures as low as possible."
Change In Clothing Habits
| ||An article in The Journal of Urology showed that there was no difference in either the semen analysis or the core testicular temperature between groups of men who wear boxers or briefs. Wearing tight pants, once thought to be a factor, turns out not to be important either.|
Subsequent to this, another study has demonstrated that getting rid of tight fitting underwear does improve fertility. The researchers from the Universities of Manchester and Sheffield compared some 900 men with low sperm counts with 1,300 who had high sperm counts. They found drugs, tobacco, alcohol and weight had little effect. But boxer shorts did.
Smoking, drinking alcohol, using recreational drugs and being overweight are all listed in National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines as factors likely to harm male fertility. But research has found they make little difference – with one exception. Changing underwear style could improve a man's chances of having a baby.
"There is no need for men to become monks just because they want to be a dad," said Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield, who was involved in the study. "But if they are a fan of tight Y-fronts, then switching underpants to something a bit looser for a few months might be a good idea."
To make healthy sperm, the testicles need to be a degree or two below body temperature, which is why evolution has seen to it that they hang outside in their own sac, where it's cooler. Tight Y-fronts risk reversing what millions of years of evolution have achieved.
| ||Historically there has been the suggestion that cigarette smoking has a significant effect on semen quality. One meta-analysis concluded that regular smoking causes a 23% decrease in sperm density (concentration) and 13% decrease in motility (when averages are taken from nine separate studies).|
Other studies challenge this idea though. Please see the 2012 link between Infertility, Male and Chemical Avoidance.
Test Zinc Levels
| ||Zinc is concentrated in ejaculate, and important for prostate health. Zinc stores can be reduced by frequent ejaculation. Marginal zinc status is associated with poor sperm count and motility (especially if testosterone levels are low).|
| ||A study performed in India showed that lycopene supplementation proved to be beneficial to couples who try for the first time to conceive but are not successful due to unspecified male infertility problems. In this study, 50 men with low sperm counts were selected to receive lycopene supplements twice per day for three months. Within nine months after starting the lycopene supplements, 36% of the couples were successful. Amongst the 50 men, 70% had an increase in sperm concentration and 58% had an increase in sperm motility.|
| ||Urologist Herbert Sperling has warned that heated car seats, which are increasingly popular among those who live in cold climates, may cause male infertility. Reduced sperm growth, slow sperm and misshapen sperm were all more common among drivers who spend long periods on the heated seats.|
The seats raise the temperature of the testicles to 38 degrees Celsius, which is 3 degrees more than normal. Sperm is extremely sensitive to changes in temperature. [The Raw Story September 5, 2006]
| ||Two reports from physician-scientists at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center (Oct 2007) shed new light on male infertility. A first report shows that a common cause of male infertility -- varicoceles, or varicose veins in the scrotum -- also results in a depletion of testosterone. In a second related finding, researchers demonstrate that once a common, simple surgery is used to treat varicoceles and thereby restore fertility, testosterone levels are also improved.|| |