If you’re suffering from fertility issues, you may want to consider adjusting your lifestyle. Experts have found that various lifestyle factors can actually contribute to male infertility. For instance, unhealthy eating habits can greatly cause your semen quality to drop, especially if you suffer from nutritional deficiencies.
Aside from your diet, unhealthy habits like smoking and alcohol consumption can also cause your fertility to decline. Research has shown that both tobacco and alcohol consumption have various detrimental effects on male reproductive function. Find out how the following four lifestyle factors reduce your fertility.
Illicit drugs like cocaine, marijuana, opiates, methamphetamines, and even anabolic steroids negatively impact your fertility. These recreational drugs may give you momentary pleasure, but their effects on your testicular architecture, hormonal health, and sperm quality are long-lasting.
Both low sperm concentrations and reduced total sperm count are associated with frequent marijuana use. This is especially true among men who use marijuana in combination with other illicit drugs.
Cocaine is another widely used illicit drug that also has adverse effects on sperm production and testicular structure. Using cocaine can actually induce your testicular cells and spermatozoa to undergo apoptosis. This means that cocaine usage causes your cells to die.
The use of cocaine is also strongly linked with low sperm concentrations, poor sperm motility, and high percentages of abnormal sperm. In addition, infertile men who have a history of cocaine usage also suffer from other male infertility risk factors like smoking and sexually transmitted infections.
Because cigarettes contain highly carcinogenic compounds, men who smoke tend to have higher exposures to substances that are highly toxic to sperm such as cadmium and lead.
Cigarette smoking is associated with extremely high levels of oxidative stress and increased production of reactive oxygen species. When there’s an increase in the levels of reactive oxygen species in the semen, your spermatozoa are exposed to extreme oxidative stress. This can impair sperm functions and compromise your fertility.
In fact, increased oxidative stress is known to cause poor sperm morphology, reduced sperm motility, as well as lower sperm counts. Compared to men who smoke only moderately, those who consume more than a pack a day have even poorer sperm quality.
Men who smoke tend to experience elevated oxidative stress levels, increased DNA damage, and cell apoptosis. The combined effects of these result in impaired sperm production, decreased sperm quantity, problems with sperm maturation, and impaired sperm function.
One of the most problematic effects of alcohol on male fertility is that it interferes with the functions of the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. This means that your production of important hormones like gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and testosterone are all adversely affected.
These four hormones are extremely crucial for normal sperm production and testosterone synthesis. Your pituitary gland secretes luteinizing hormone which triggers your Leydig cells in your testicles to produce testosterone. If your LH levels are insufficient, your testosterone production will drop significantly.
If you’re not producing enough testosterone, not only will your fertility suffer, your sexual functions will also be impaired since testosterone is necessary for regulating your sexual desire.
Alcohol consumption also negatively affects your FSH levels. Follicle stimulating hormone is needed to stimulate your Sertoli cells to initiate the process of sperm production. This means that when there’s a problem with your FSH production, you will most likely experience decreased sperm production resulting in low sperm count and infertility.
Moreover, alcohol consumption also increases your oxidative stress levels, especially if you smoke or use illicit drugs when you drink. This can cause abnormalities in your sperm like having crooked tails or misshapen heads. As a result, your sperm quality and motility will drop.
Just like alcohol, psychological stress also negatively affects your hormonal balance. Whereas alcohol directly affects your HPG axis, psychological stress causes your hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis to become overly active. This, in turn, exerts an inhibitory effect on your testicular Leydig cells as well as your HPG axis.
In short, psychological stress can suppress spermatogenesis and cause your testosterone levels to drop. In addition, psychological stress also results in low sperm count, decreased sperm motility, and low percentages of sperm with normal morphology. Moreover, when you are extremely stressed, your testosterone levels significantly drop.
Psychological stress can also cause your seminal antioxidant levels to drop. Your seminal antioxidant enzymes protect your sperm from oxidative stress damage. However, when there’s a decrease in your seminal antioxidant activities, oxidative stress can overpower your antioxidant defenses.
This means that your sperm cells become exposed to reactive oxygen species and free radicals. The cellular membranes of your sperm cells can become damaged, resulting in impaired sperm function.
Oxidative stress also exposes your sperm to higher risks of DNA fragmentation and DNA damage. When your percentage of sperm with damaged or fragmented DNA is high, the risks of birth defects in your offspring also significantly increases. In addition, high percentages of sperm with damaged DNA also increases the risks of miscarriage.
Improving Your Fertility Naturally
For men who are suffering from fertility problems, avoiding unhealthy lifestyle habits is one way to improve fertility. However, the damage to your reproductive functions caused by smoking, alcohol consumption, use of illicit drugs, and psychological stress may take a long time to repair.
One way that you can restore your fertility is by taking supplements that naturally boost your sperm production and improve your sperm quality. You can take vitamin C and E supplements as these two vitamins help provide antioxidant protection for your sperm.
Aside from vitamin supplements, you can also take herbal supplements in order to increase your sperm count. This is not just an ordinary male sex enhancement supplement. Rather, it’s formulated with natural herbal ingredients that are good for male fertility.
Natural male enhancement supplement contains excellent sperm production boosters like maca and Tribulus terrestris. Both are known to help promote sperm production, increase sperm count, and improve sperm motility rates. Moreover, both maca and Tribulus terrestris are proven to help improve erectile function and increase libido.