The fate of the human race may be in big trouble. A new international study published in the journal Human Reproduction Update revealed that there is a dramatic decline in sperm count among men in Western industrialized countries.
The team of researchers, led by Dr. Hagai Levine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, reviewed over 185 studies published between 1973 and 2011 that analyzed the sperm count of around 43,000 men. The study found a total 52.4 percent decline in sperm concentration and a 59.3 percent decline in total sperm count over a nearly 40-year period.
The study cites “environmental and lifestyle influences” in the declining sperm count. These include maternal smoking, obesity, stress and exposure to pesticides. This could potentially have serious implications.
The decreasing sperm counts coupled with women waiting till their 30s to have a child may have potentially dangerous implications. The head of the study thinks that this could have potential catastrophic consequences.
“Eventually we may have a problem, and with reproduction in general, and it may be the extinction of the human species,” said Dr. Levine. Could the decreasing sperm count be a sign that doomsday is around the corner?
While the study shows that the “decline is strong and continuing,” let’s not plunge ourselves into a Handmaid’s Tale-style dystopia just yet. There are some things men can do to avoid damaging their sperm count and to keep their sperm healthy.
If you want to keep your sperm count high, avoid using plastics as much as possible. I know that seems difficult in our modern world, but there is a direct correlation between the chemicals found in plastics, like BPA and Phthalates, and decreased sperm count. Phthalates are also found in most shampoos and soaps, so it may be worth spending a couple extra bucks on the all-natural hygiene products.
Research shows that overweight men tend to have lower sperm count. “The heavier the men, the higher the chances of a low sperm count,” urologist Dr. Keith Jarvi told Reuters Health. Obesity also can lead to erectile dysfunction, so if you want a better sex life, guys, stop getting take-out so frequently. Men with not enough folic acid in their diets were found to have a higher rate of abnormal chromosomes in their sperm. Leafy greens, asparagus and beans are high in folic acid. In fact, a study on sub-fertile men found a 74 percent increase in sperm count after supplementing with folic acid and zinc for two weeks.
Smoking is awful for you for a million reasons, but it also harms your sperm count. Men who smoke have 22 percent lower sperm count than men who don’t. Their sperm are also smaller and slower. Plus, you’re not as cool as you think you are with that cigarette dangling from your lips.
Men’s testicles are found on the outside of their body, unlike women’s reproductive organs, because they need to remain significantly cooler. Some men prefer briefs, but tighter underwear will raise the temperature in your testes, and ultimately result in a decreased sperm count. Men should avoid prolonged soaking in hot tubs and baths. In fact, a UCSF study showed that when men stopped using hot tubs for a few months, their sperm count went up 491 percent!
Italian men must be some of the most fertile lovers out there. Tomatoes and garlic are staples of Italian cuisine, but all joking aside, these two foods have been linked to increased sperm count. A report by the Cleveland Clinic found that lypocene, a compound found in red fruits like tomatoes, increased sperm count and motility up to 70 percent. As for garlic, it contains the antioxidant allicin, which is important for sperm motility.
Maybe guys should invest in a man purse. Guys tend to keep their phones in their pockets, but the bottom line is that cell phones emit radiation that damage sperm. Men can increase their sperm count by simply keeping their cell phone in an arm band and limiting their overall use. Anyway, it’s not sexy when a guy is constantly on his pone.
This is one that everybody can get behind...or in front...or on the side of. While abstaining from sex a few days may boost sperm count, having daily sex can improve sperm quality. An Australian study at Sydney IVF found that daily sex for a seven-day period significantly improved the quality of the sperm. Also, abstaining from sex too long will make your sperm become “stale.”