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Is Male Fertility At Risk?

 width= According to research, male fertility rates in the Western world have fallen by over fifty per cent in the past forty years. In actual figures, this decline has gone from an average of 99 million sperm per milliliter to 47 million. Apparently those scientists carrying out the research have been especially concerned because the trend in those figures shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, previous studies suggest that once the sperm count dips below that 40 million mark, those male fertility rates will continue to decrease progressively.

What researchers have to say

Lead author, Dr Hagal Levine (of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) says: "This study is an urgent wake-up call for researchers and health authorities around the world to investigate the causes of the sharp ongoing drop in sperm count, to try to prevent it from carrying on." Co-author, Professor S. Swan (of The Icahn School of Medicine in New York) also said: "This definitive study shows, for the first time, that the decline in sperm count is strong and continuing." Although the research has not yet determined what has caused the decline, Dr. Levine did say that the disparity between less developed nations and the West suggested that the drop might be largely down to "chemicals in commerce", upsetting sperm production by mimicking the female sex hormone oestrogen.

Are there other reasons behind the falling sperm count?

Many experts believe a falling sperm count may be the "canary in the coal mine", a sign of modern broader risks to our health. Stress, obesity and smoking are thought to be part of the problem. But everyday chemicals may be lowering your sperm count, scrambling DNA sperm data or causing sperm mobility problems while riding on those narrow bike seats or taking antidepressants can be additional reasons. Here is a long list of more reasons: 1. Cash register receipts. Many of these are coated with bisphenol-A (BPA), which has been linked to fertility problems and low sperm count and quality. 2. Canned food and other food packaging. The biggest source of BPA contamination is food packaging with many metal cans being coated with a BPA resin. 3. Sex toys. These are made from vinyl (which contains phthalates that are in turn linked to cancer, allergies, birth defects and infertility). 4. Showers. Phthalates are also found in scented soaps, shampoos and cleaners as well as vinyl shower curtains. 5. Chemical-laced produce. While pesticides are meant to kill insects, their indiscriminate can also affect your sperm. 6. Heated car seats - and heating pads could increase testicular temperatures enough to decrease sperm production. 7. Contaminated fish. While PCBs are a type of banned chemical, sadly enough remain in the environment to accumulate in fish.

What can young men do to keep their sperm count up?!

  • Take their vitamins! Infertility is yet another health problem that can be made worse by too little sun exposure so taking vitamin D is important. Vitamin C increases sperm quality and mobility. Vitamin E and selenium can also improve sperm motility. Men who are deficient in vitamin B12 can also suffer from poor motility (where the sperm don't swim very well). If low testosterone is the cause, zinc may help while studies have confirmed the benefits of antioxidants for male reproductive health. Ideally, a nutritious organic diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables should provide many of these vitamins with some topping up with supplements where necessary.
  • Insulin resistance can play a role in fertility.
  • Celiac disease (gluten intolerance) has also been linked to fertility problems in men such as abnormal sperm, lower sperm numbers, altered shape and reduced function.
  • Some prescription drugs can cause infertility with SSRI antidepressants in particular. Common side effects of many antidepressants also include impotence and delayed ejaculation.
  • Eat mostly raw and fresh foods while steering clear of processed, prepackaged foods to avoid hidden fructose and artificial food additives including artificial sweeteners, food coloring and MSG.
  • Storing food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap.
  • Filter your water (even for your showers and bathing) to avoid contaminants.
  • Use only natural cleaning products in the home.
  • Switch over to natural brands of toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and beauty products.
  • Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances.
  • Replace your Teflon pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware.
  • When updating your home, look for zero VOC paints and avoid vinyl floor coverings.
  • Avoid using pesticides and herbicides around your home and garden and change to a more organic way of life.
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