PORTLAND, OR–(Marketwired – January 03, 2017) – While the importance of nutrition to a pregnant woman is widely known, the fathers’ choices receive far less attention. However, according to nutraceutical company Kirkman®, research is making it clear that environmental exposures and nutritional choices of a father-to-be can have profound effects on reproductive outcomes, from failure to conceive to birth defects.
Smoking and excessive drinking are likely the most common (and most commonly recognized) reproductive hazards and both can lead to reduced sperm counts.1 But there are other common exposures, including many encountered in workplaces, that can have detrimental effects on fertility.2
Millions of chemicals are commonly in commercial use. According to the CDC, more than 1,000 of these have reproductive effects on animals, but few have been studied in humans. Several of those that have been studied have been shown to lower sperm count and/or deform sperm shape (which can reduce the ability of the sperm to “swim” effectively).
Lead, for instance, has been linked to both of these negative outcomes. Exposure to other heavy metals has also been linked to negative effects on sperm production. Potentially damaging chemicals used in workplaces include bromides (used in dyes, disinfectants, and insecticides), styrene (used in plastic production) and tetrachloroethylene (used in dry cleaning).
Body weight has been linked to low sperm counts, both oligozoospermia, which simply means a lower-than-average count, and azoospermia, which indicates a sperm count so low that sperm is actually undetectable. For both underweight and overweight men, there is a slightly increased chance of azoospermia or oligozoospermia. Those deemed “morbidly obese,” however, have twice the odds of low sperm counts.3
Research on the impact of diet on male fertility is still at an early stage. Some studies have merely confirmed that generally nutritious diets lead to better outcomes, but others have narrowed their focus to look at specific nutrients. One found that vitamin E and selenium supplementation both increased motility and reduced the concentration of malformed sperm.4 Another found significant count and motility improvements following regular, high-dose intake of vitamin C.5 High doses of vitamin B-12 were found to increase sperm counts for both humans6 and rats.7
Moral of the story, limit your exposure, replace products and take care of you if you want future generations to be happy and healthy.
- DeNoon, Daniel. Study: smoking degrades sperm protein needed for fertility, embryo survival. Accessed 12/27/16 from: http://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/news/20100910/smokers-sperm-less-fertile
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The effects of workplace hazards on male reproductive health. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 96-132. Accessed 12/27/16 from: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/96-132/
- Sermondade, N. BMI in relation to sperm count: an updated systematic review and collaborative meta-analysis. Human Reproduction Update, Jun;19 (3): 221-31. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dms050.
- Moslemi MK, Tavanbakhsh S. Selenium–vitamin E supplementation in infertile men: effects on semen parameters and pregnancy rate. International Journal of General Medicine. 2011;4:99-104. doi:10.2147/IJGM.S16275.
- Akmal M, Qadri JQ, Al-Waili NS, Thangal S, Haq A, Saloom KY. Improvement in human semen quality after oral supplementation of vitamin C. J Med Food. 2006 Fall;9(3):440-2. Accessed 12/27/16 from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17004914
- Moriyama H, Nakamura K, Sanda N, Fujiwara E, Seko S, Yamazaki A, Mizutani M, Sagami K, Kitano T, [Studies on the usefulness of a long-term, high-dose treatment of methylcobalamin in patients with oligozoospermia]. Hinyokika Kiyo. 1987 Jan;33(1):151-6. Accessed 12/27/16 from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3107356
- Watanabe T, Ohkawa K, Kasai S, Ebara S, Nakano Y, Watanabe Y. The effects of dietary vitamin B12 deficiency on sperm maturation in developing and growing male rats. Congenit Anom (Kyoto). 2003 Mar;43(1):57-64. Accessed 12/27/16 from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12692404