Healthy sperm (or “swimmers”) are required to make a healthy baby. In order to optimize fertility for men, let’s review the physiology of male reproduction for those with normal sperm and those with low motility and sperm count.
Unlike women who are born with all their eggs already made, men make sperm 24:7. New sperm are made every day (in normal men) from the “Grandfather” of all sperm in each man, the spermatogonia. These round cells do not move, they line small tubes in the testicle, with the forming offspring sperm (which look like tadpoles) being released into the tubes where they eventually travel out the man’s penis during ejaculation. The Grandfather sperm cells have the whole number of human chromosomes and the resulting offspring sperm of course only have half the DNA. Each sperm cell has one half of the number of chromosomes of the father.
Men who lose the Grandfather sperm will be sterile, with no future ability to make sperm. All other men can have varying production of offspring sperm over time based on several factors. It takes 60 days for new sperm to be produced from the Grandfather sperm. As sperm age in the man’s body they are constantly released through ejaculation and also through urine. This ensures fresh healthy sperm are always available to father children. Changes in sperm production (for better or worse) occur in 60 days cycles. A single sperm test is a snap shot in the sperm production cycle, it is not a full picture of a man’s sperm production capacity.
Numerous things can limit the production of healthy sperm:
- Alcohol (drinking more than 2 drinks per day)
- Medications (SSRI antidepressants, statins, asthma meds, narcotics, steroids)
- Aging (being over 40 years old)
- Chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, plastics & heavy metals)
- Marijuana usage or other THC exposure
- Heavy cell phone exposure at pocket level
- Seat heaters
- Fevers & illness
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies from poor diet
- Emotional stress
- Low frequency of ejaculation
- Excessive vitamin supplementation
- Anabolic steroids (testosterone)
In contrast, many things can HELP optimize sperm production:
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Meditation and stress reduction
- Vitamins and trace minerals at recommended levels
- Changing medications to “sperm safe” options
- More frequent ejaculation (at least three times a week)
- Longer foreplay and more sexual excitement
Some may be surprised to learn that “saving up” sperm for the woman’s fertile time each month actually harms, not helps fertility. More frequent sex increases testosterone levels in the man, which really gets those Grandfather sperm cells going! More sexual stimulation and excitement before ejaculation (during foreplay) helps draw more young healthy sperm into the tubes, increasing sperm quality and count in the ejaculate.