Natural Help For Male Infertility
The growing low T issue is concerning — and so are the symptoms…
Decreased s*x drive… erectile dysfunction… increased body fat… enlarged br**sts. Reduced muscle mass… body fatigue… poor concentration. Not to mention depression, irritability and insomnia.
Even just a few of these symptoms are enough to adversely affect a man’s quality of life (and his partner’s), but it also impacts fertility.
Approximately 10% of all U.S. couples seek fertility assistance. Yet low T is only a small part of the infertility problem we are seeing.
Other “male factor” problems include mechanical blockages, low hormone levels, or previous infections. These are things that can negatively impact sperm quality.
However, in about half of these men with infertility, a cause cannot be determined. That’s when you have to look outside of the box to causes that might be surprising at first. Here are a few…
Overheating: testes must stay consistently cooler than the rest of the body for optimum sperm. Even 30 minutes in a hot tub or sauna can temporarily decrease sperm production. Therefore, interventions to enhance sperm production need to last at least one spermatogenic cycle (74 days on average) before you can expect to have improvement.
Radiation, EMFs: electromagnetic frequencies, from cell phones and computer laptops to microwaves and Computed Tomography (CT scan), are known to induce oxidative stress, as levels of reactive oxygen species are an independent marker of male factor infertility. Studies have shown that men with the highest cell phone usage (> 4 hours/day) had significantly lower sperm counts, motility rates, and morphology. Moreover, antioxidants in the testes significantly protect sperm from oxidative damage.
Malnutrition: especially protein and micronutrient deficiency.
Xenobiotics: excessive exposure to xenoestrogens (environmental estrogen) and xenobiotics (other hormone mimickers) affects the way hormones are utilized by body tissues and metabolized.
Stress: chronic mental, physical, or emotional stress will down-regulate s*x hormones (through the over-production of cortisol, which steals away from production of testosterone). This kind of stress also changes the way men think about s*x, leading to a psychological/relationship problem that will interfere with frequency and quality of s*x.
Celiac disease: this digestive disorder is caused by sensitivity to gluten but can cause male infertility, and fertility improves after adopting a gluten-free diet. The same holds true for other food-specific immune hypersensitivity, including gluten intolerance.
Overexposure to industrial chemicals: herbicides, pesticides, benzenes, organic solvents, painting materials (lead) all can contribute to low sperm counts. Heavy metal exposure can also cause infertility.
Male infertility treatment options
If you or a loved one is under the direction of a fertility doctor, these are the medications they may prescribe to increase sperm quantity and quality:
Antiestrogens. Clomid (clomiphene citrate) 25-75 mg daily, Androxal (enclomiphene citrate) are commonly used for idiopathic male infertility. They indirectly stimulate FSH and LH secretion by blocking estrogen in the hypothalamus to increase GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone) secretion. These boost natural testosterone levels and also preserve sperm production.
Aromatase inhibitors. Letrozole and Arimidex are aromatase inhibitors used to block the conversion of testosterone to estradiol; these can also promote spermatogenesis in men with low sperm counts.
Gonadotropins. FSH and LH naturally stimulate spermatogenesis and testosterone production. By taking exogenous hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) one can stimulate the testicular Leydig cells to secrete both testosterone and estradiol. Taking hMG (human menopausal hormone) one can get LH and FSH activity. However, this is not so well proven to work in men with normal levels of gonadotropins (LH, FSH) with low sperm count and function.
As mentioned above, oxidative stress can impact male fertility. Antioxidants in the testes significantly protect sperm and lower reactive oxygen species. Most all scientific studies also come to the conclusion that antioxidant supplementation significantly improves either sperm quality (sperm DNA and function) or pregnancy rate. One review points out that 14 out of 17 trials (82%) showed an improvement. Remember that these clinical trials are for single nutrients.
Nutrient combinations are expected to do much more than a single nutrient alone. Plus, when combining these with a nutrient rich diet and herbs that also assist with reproductivity, this can likely increase fertility several-fold even without assisted reproduction therapies. Imagine combining the antioxidant compounds L-Carnitine, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, carotenoids, glutathione, N-acetylcysteine, zinc, folic acid, and coenzyme Q10 in daily dosing. Moreover, a meta-analysis showed 4.85-fold improvement in the live birth rate using multiple antioxidants combined plus assisted reproduction (e.g. intrauterine insemination or in-vitro fertilization) compared to just assisted reproduction alone.
Let’s look at these nutrients individually…
L-Arginine is found in concentrated amounts in the head of sperm. Taking 4,000 mg daily is thought to improve sperm counts and motility.
Acetyl carnitine and L-Carnitine (4,000 mg daily) has been shown to protect sperm from oxidative damage. Approximately 50% of carnitine exists as acetyl-carnitine in human seminal fluid. Both play an important role in spermatozoa membrane stabilization. As yet, however, studies have not directly demonstrated that orally administered L-carnitine supplementation significantly increases levels within the epididymis or impacts fertility: reported pregnancy rates were 8% without and 13% with supplementation.
Coenzyme Q10 (400 mg daily)
Glutathione: Controlled studies of glutathione have shown promising improvements in male factor fertility.
Vitamin C in high dose (2,000 to 6,000 mg daily) apparently helps prevent sperm from clumping together, thus boosting chances for fertility.
Vitamin E (800 IU daily).
B vitamins: B complex, B12 (1,000 mcg daily), and folate.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids (9,000 to 12,000 mg daily). Foods highest in Omega-3 are fish oil, krill oil, cod liver oil; also flaxseed, linseed, grapeseed, avocado, olive, walnut, and other oils.
Minerals: Zinc (100-200 mg daily) can increase sperm count and sperm motility. High zinc food sources include wheat germ, legumes, nuts, and meats such as herring, oysters, lean beef, turkey, and lamb. Chromium (1,000 mcg daily), selenium (200 mcg daily) and copper (2 mg daily) are also important mineral cofactors.
Herbs are used by patients and practitioners alike to improve sperm quality and quantity. Note that these herbs to not to increase s*xual desire or erections, but sperm health for fertility purposes.
Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera): Researchers compared semen at baseline and after a 90-day treatment of ashwagandha supplementation (225 mg encapsulated Ashwagandha root 3 times per day for 12 weeks) in 21 men with documented male factor fertility. They found that compared to placebo subjects, sperm concentration rose 167% on average.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng): used to increase testosterone levels and sperm count. Siberian ginseng may also be effective.
Astragalus, sarsaparilla, and saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) have been used traditionally for male reproductive health.