Conceiving a baby relies on both healthy sperm from the male and a healthy ovum from the female.
About one in every six couples have difficulty conceiving. It is believed that poor sperm quality is to blame for about half of these cases.
Male infertility can have numerous causes, such as abnormal sperm production, genetic defects, undescended testicles, or certain health problems like gonorrhoea, chlamydia, or HIV.
Each sperm takes approximately 100 days to mature, so it is not all bad news, with some simple diet and lifestyle changes you can improve your sperm health in just over 3 months.
Sperm can be several factors including, diet, alcohol and free radicals.
Free Radicals can be found in fried foods, alcohol, tobacco smoke, pesticides and air pollutants. They can cause damage to parts of your cells such as proteins, DNA and cell membranes by the process of oxidation.
Antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E can help protect the body from the effects of free radicals. Antioxidants work by donating an electron to neutralise the free radicals.
Lifestyle is very important when wanting to conceive a baby. Poor diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, stress and trauma all have negative effects on sperm health.
Environmental factors such as pollution, pesticides, radiation and toxic chemicals also have negative effects on sperm health.
How does oxidation effect sperm health?
The tail of the sperm is highly susceptible to oxidative damage. The tail becomes less fluid which decreases motility which may affect the sperm reaching the ovum for fertilisation to occur.
Sperm DNA Damage can be due to oxidative stress. As men get older DNA damage is thought to increase as a man ages.
Oxidative stress to sperm has been identified in 30-80% of infertile males.
What antioxidants are good to help with sperm health?
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps protect the sperm's cell membrane from damage. Studies have shown that vitamin E improves sperm motility (movement).
Vitamin C significantly improved sperm count and motility, while reducing the numbers of deformed sperm cells.
Lycopene has been shown to increase sperm count by up to 70% while providing other key benefits for male reproductive systems.
Zinc is one of the cornerstones of male fertility. Studies show that low zinc status or deficiency is associated with low testosterone levels, poor sperm quality, and an increased risk of male infertility.
Selenium can improve sperm motility and the chance of successful conception.
Folic acid necessary for DNA synthesis. Low levels of folic acid have been associated with a decreased sperm count and decreased sperm motility.
It is recommended that men take a prenatal supplement with these antioxidants for at least 3 months before trying to conceive a baby, as sperm takes approximately 100 days to mature.
If you would like more specific advice about your fertility come and talk to one of our trained pharmacists in store.