Real talk—men are half of the baby-making equation, and if conception is the goal, taking steps to stack the deck can be a game changer. The bad news is that environmental stressors, diet, and our modern lifestyles are a triple threat to men’s fertility, wreaking havoc on sperm DNA. The good news is that there are simple things you can do to combat those threats and actually increase testosterone levels, sperm count, and sperm motility, which means a greater chance of conception. Here are 11 easy ways to boost men’s fertility.
Men’s Fertility 101
Let’s first establish what we mean by boosting fertility. In men, this refers to:
- Increased sperm count
- Increased sperm motility
- Resolving sperm morphology issues
- Boosting low testosterone levels
Low sperm count and morphology, insufficient motility, and low testosterone levels can all affect your chances of a healthy conception, pregnancy, and even impact the health of your baby. And what’s more, male fertility is surprisingly affected by a mix of lifestyle and environmental factors. Some of the most common culprits behind low sperm count and other fertility issues include:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Lifestyle choices such as smoking and drugs
- Environmental concerns such as pesticides, chemicals, and heavy metal exposure
- Alcohol use
- Genetics and chromosomal problems
- Varicocele and other medical conditions
- Hormonal imbalance
- Celiac disease
- Certain medications
By understanding what could be causing men’s infertility, you’re better positioned to identify and address common causes and take steps to maximize what you’re working with.
11 Ways To Increase Sperm Count Naturally
Men produce millions of sperm each day, so it’s easy to understand why simple lifestyle changes can have an impact on the health of those sperm. Even men without a diagnosis of male factor infertility can benefit from a few easy swaps to improve their overall health and fertility. If you’re thinking starting a family, be clear that your health during conception can impact the health of your baby. In fact, one study found that dads who were in poor health were more likely to have preterm and low-birth weight babies who stayed in the NICU.
Another thing to keep in mind—sperm are produced every day, but it still takes two to three months for any lifestyle change to have an affect. In other words, this is less of a sprint and more of a marathon, so get started with these tips for boosting male fertility.
1. Take Beli Vitality for Men
One of the leading causes of men's fertility issues is nutritional deficiencies .Just like women, men’s bodies need different vitamins to help ensure optimal health for a greater chance of conception. Beli’s proprietary Vitality blend provides men with bioavailable forms of nutrients you need for reproductive and sperm health to help increase sperm count and quality. And it’s as simple as swapping out your regular multivitamin.
2. Get More Sleep—But Not Too Much
Did you know men produce the majority of their testosterone while they’re sleeping? That’s why lack of sleep can have huge consequences on pregnancy outcomes. Specifically, lack of sleep or disrupted sleep cycles can affect sperm production. The Boston University Pregnancy Online Study Society showed that men who sleep too much or too little are the least likely to conceive with their partners.
3. Eat More Healthy Fats
Increased intake of healthy fats, like walnuts and avocados, have been shown to have a positive impact on male fertility. Plus, a 2010 study found that infertile men often have lower concentrations of omega-3 FAs in their sperm than fertile men.
What should a man eat to increase his sperm count? The fertility diet that has been shown to improve female fertility outcomes is also perfect for men. The Keto diet is also thought to help to increase sperm count because of the high fat content.
4. Avoid Soy Products
A Spanish study showed that higher amounts of soy-related food products was related to increased percentages of chromosomal abnormalities in sperm as well as a lower sperm motility count. That’s because soy products contain phytates, which can interfere with the zinc absorption that’s essential for sperm production. Soy also contains isoflavones, which can mimic estrogen in the body.
- Soybean sprouts
- Soy milk
5. Reduce your exposure to EDCs
EDCs are endocrine-disrupting compounds that disrupt the body’s hormone levels and can have devastating effects on fertility and sperm count. Unfortunately, EDCs are found everywhere we go and in many household items such as:
- Plastics (Bisphenol-A)
- Personal hygiene products (parabens)
- Food (pesticides and chemicals)
To limit exposure, switch to all-natural cleaning and personal care products. Buy organic fruits and vegetables, especially when you’re buying any of dirty dozen, which include nectarines, peppers and strawberries.
6. Cut Down Your Alcohol Consumption
While a little alcohol in moderation won’t necessary affect male fertility, it most certainly won’t help increase sperm count. Numerous studies have shown that heavy drinking can have a huge effect on a man’s fertility and sperm health, and cutting back can be one of the best ways to increase your chances of pregnancy. What’s more, this moderation is often reflected very quickly, within just a few weeks, in elevated testosterone levels.
7. Avoid Overheating
Sperm need a stable temperature around four degrees cooler than the body in order to maintain optimal health. Any warmer and decreased motility begins to affect sperm analysis results. Prolonged heat exposure results in low sperm counts and reduced pregnancy rates, so do what you can to avoid overheating from the following:
- Tight boxers or shorts for a prolonged period of time
- The heat from a laptop or electronics
- Hot tubs
Before you panic, you don’t have give up grilling or sell the laptop. Just follow the everything-in-moderation rule and take regular breaks. If you’ve been diagnosed with low sperm count, taking extra precautions here can help.
8. Exercise Regularly
Exercise has been shown to increase sperm counts in men, likely due to the increased blood flow throughout the body and higher oxygen levels in the blood. Exercise is also great for reducing body fat, which is a huge fertility risk factor in both men and women.
Swimming and working out in cool temperatures are good methods of exercise for increasing sperm count, since they don’t pose risks of overheating. Yoga is also an effective way to manage stress levels and increasing blood flow to the pelvic area. Plus, there are specific fertility yoga poses that may help increase sperm counts and overall reproductive health.
9. Control Stress
High stress levels can affect male fertility by decreasing testosterone levels and impacting sperm count. Although studies have shown that men don’t receive an infertility diagnosis as often as women, men tend to have higher stress levels either due to work or the tendency to “bottle things up” and lack of social support.
It’s hard to eliminate stress entirely, but there are a few things you can do to relax:
- Listen to music or a podcast
- Try meditation or acupuncture
- Spend time with friends (but take it easy on the alcohol!)
- Take a yoga class or try fertility yoga as a couple in the comfort of your own home
- Hit the gym
10. Reduce Caffeine Intake
It’s generally believed that large amounts of caffeine aren’t ideal when you’re trying to increase sperm count and mobility. A 2017 Italian study found some evidence that excessive use consumption of caffeine (more than four cups of coffee a day) can actually damage sperm DNA fragments.
It’s worth remembering that drinks such as cola, caffeinated black and green teas, and energy drinks all contain caffeine, which means they’re contributing to your total daily intake.
To cut back on caffeine, try switching to decaf as much as possible and cutting soda out completely. For a non-caffeinated morning drink, try a vitamin-packed fertility smoothie.
11. Stop Smoking
Smoking affects all three sperm analysis factors (count, motility and morphology), but the good news is that levels will go back to normal around one year of quitting.
The big takeaway here is that steps you take to lead a healthier, happier lifestyle will often pay off in the health of your sperm. Add a science-backed men's prenatal like Beli, and you’re doing all you can to cover your fertility bases.