The presence of couples unable to conceive is an increasingly common scenario in my clinic compared to two decades ago. About 15 percent of couples experience conception problems, and this percentage is growing. Infertility is defined as the absence of conception after one year of regular intercourse without the use of any contraceptive.
Men are responsible for this problem at least 40 percent of the time. Where modern medicine has developed its own technical solutions for assisting infertile couples in getting pregnant, complementary medicine can also offer its own assistance in increasing male fertility and sperm count. Before attempting natural remedies, it is important to rule out any underlying treatable medical conditions.
1. Improve sperm count
Heat can reduce sperm production. Hot baths, sitting for long periods of time and tight-fitting underwear that constricts the testes can all elevate temperatures long enough to suppress sperm production.
The anti-ulcer drugs cimetidine and ranitidine have both been reported to decrease sperm count and produce impotence.
2. Reduce chemical exposure
The semen of the average man today has half the sperm, and of poorer quality, than 50 years ago.
This is believed to be caused by exposure to xenoestrogens (PCBs, DDT, dioxin, other pesticides, plastics and industrial pollutants) that mimic the effects of estrogen.
3. Improve diet
Getting plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes can help boost fertility. Also avoid tobacco, refined carbohydrates, coffee, tea, alcohol and foods with artificial additives.
4. Exercise regularly
According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, regular exercise (five times a week for at least 45 minutes) and a healthy diet enhance fertility by keeping body weight at normal levels and relieving stress and anxiety.
5. Take nutritional supplements
For men, the most important supplemental nutrients to enhance fertility are vitamin C and zinc. Vitamin C (2,000 to 6,000 milligrams daily) helps prevent sperm from clumping or sticking together, thus improving the chances for fertility.
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