When it comes to fertility and fatherhood, we men tend to think we’re invincible. After all, George Clooney had twin babies in his mid-50s, right? Like George, I put off marriage until later in life. I was nearly 35 years old when I first got married. I knew that fatherhood wasn’t a foregone conclusion for me. As a chronic worrier, I investigated these issues when it became an issue for me. In vitro fertilization is expensive so a little piece of information to point you toward or away from IVF can be helpful.
It’s clear is that men’s general health may be more critical to fertility and healthy offspring than we once thought. The beauty of sperm health is that it can be improved—sometimes quickly—with lifestyle changes. Be aware that your semen quality is more likely to reflect lifestyle choices over the past 2-3 months than the past 2-3 days. So, let’s get going guys!
Women are consistently educated on smoking, alcohol, diet, vitamins, and exercise. Why aren’t we? A man’s habits prior to conception could have a profound impact on his progeny. Researchers know that smoking, a bad diet, nutritional deficiencies, lack of exercise, and exposure to environmental toxins are all detrimental to a man’s fertility and in some cases may affect the health of our kids.
The upside: There is hope that lifestyle changes and other modifications can improve male fertility. These revelations are rooted in a relatively new field of research known as epigenetics.
Epigenetics—a buzzword that’s emerged in the scientific community over the past decade—is the study of how gene expression can be modified through lifestyle changes. While DNA is essentially hardwired code in our cells, epigenetic factors provide the instructions for that code. Think of genes as hardware and epigenetics as firmware. Our environment and behavior can change those instructions over time. Some scientists have also suggested that we could pass on epigenetically modified DNA to our kids and even to generations beyond. The good news is that many of the harmful changes brought on by bad habits may also be reversed through positive behavior changes—a firmware update, if you will.
Here’s why this matters: If you modify your behavior, you may change the DNA you pass down your family tree. When obese men had their epigenetic profiles assessed one week before gastric bypass surgery, one week after, and one year after, the researchers found shifts in regions important for neurodevelopment and metabolism. Research also suggests that smoking-related defects in a man’s epigenetic profile can start to mend after he quits. Still more research found that three months of sprint interval training improved “sperm DNA methylation,” or the ways genes turn on and off. Changes were seen in genes involved in fetal organ development and even Parkinson’s risk.
During my research, I came across Beli Vitality for Men. Beli combines the best science and the highest-quality ingredients to increase sperm health and create high-quality DNA in sperm cells. Healthy sperm will help ensure your DNA gets to your partner’s egg successfully. It also includes powerful antioxidants that protect the DNA from damage during the sperm’s journey to meet the egg. I feel good knowing that I am improving my health and helping increase our chances of conceiving a healthy baby.