According to recent reports, sperm counts of men in North America, Australia, Europe and New Zealand have dropped by more than 50 percent in less than four decades and continue to deteriorate.
For couples attempting to conceive, in about one-third of the cases, infertility is caused by male reproductive issues.
The causes of male infertility are mainly linked to lifestyle and environmental factors, such as:
- endocrine-disrupting chemicals like phthalates (found in a wide range of food products and plastics) and BPAs (a carbon-based synthetic compound found in plastic water bottles and food storage containers, canned food and drink liners)
- smoking (reduces sperm function)
- disturbed testosterone production caused by long-term ibuprofen use
- exposure to pesticides
- stress, negatively affecting the sperm quality, making it more difficult to fertilise an egg
How can acupuncture help male fertility?
Various clinical trials have proven that acupuncture can improve sperm motility (Dieterle 2009), increase sperm count (Siterman 2009, Siterman 2001), improve sperm quality (Pei 2005; Gurfinkel 2003) and can have a beneficial effect on psychogenic erectile dysfunction (Engelhardt 2003).
Acupuncture can help with:
– oligospermia (few spermatozoa in semen)
– hypospermia (low semen volume)
– azoospermia (low sperm count)
– teratospermia (sperm with abnormal morphology)
– asthenozoospermia (low sperm motility)
Alongside acupuncture treatments, making lifestyle adjustments can have a really positive impact on improving male fertility. Here are a few natural health tips:
- avoid endocrine-disrupting chemicals by reducing plastic, removing BPA (check your tinned goods) and using safe household cleaners;
- quit smoking!
- limit exposure to pesticides by avoiding products on the Dirty Dozen List: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, sweet peppers;
- reduce stress with regular exercise, acupuncture, meditation;
- improve your diet: a healing diet is based on wild-caught fish, vitamins C and E and fruits and vegetables that help reduce inflammation, improve sperm count and keep your hormones balanced;
- if needed, choose natural painkillers.
The Male Fertility Diet
Alongside your acupuncture treatments, it is important to optimise the diet to improve male fertility. This needs to be based on whole foods, paying special attention to several specific nutrients. Here are some of the most important nutrients needed for sperm health and the foods that are rich in those nutrients:
- Zinc: having a zinc deficiency can actually reduce testosterone levels; foods rich in zinc are grass fed meats, oysters, shrimp and venison (deer), sesame seeds, raw pumpkin seeds and green peas;
- Vitamin C, improving the sperm count, motility and morphology, best sourced from raw fruits and vegetables, such as papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, oranges, kiwi and kale.