Gentleman You are what you eat!

7 August 2013

We've heard it time and again: "You are what you eat". But the real question should be are a man's sperm affected by what he eats? One in six couples have difficulty becoming pregnant, and around half the time it's because of a problem with the man's sperm, says Dr Paul Stokes of Coastal IVF. And sometimes sperm problems are linked to what a man eats or drinks.

While the number of sperm a man produces is not associated with diet, the health of those sperm can be. And like eggs the quality of sperm is also important when it comes to infertility. What a man eats or drinks however can influence how well a sperm performs as well as the chance of any fertilised egg growing successfully in the mother's womb.

While diet is not the only factor influencing the health of a mans sperm, a man's age is another, it is an important one, everyone who is trying to conceive should think about diet, not just those people who are having difficulty.

Foods such as fruit, vegetables and whole-grains are important because they are rich in antioxidants, which inhibit the free radicals that can damage sperm DNA. But it's not so much about eating specific foods as having a healthy diet overall. Lots of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins C and E, and zinc and selenium are needed for healthy sperm.

Having the right vitamin mix is important. If you have a normal balanced diet you'll be getting all the important nutrients. If you are unsure speak to the team at Sunshine Coast’s Coastal IVF.

Alcohol and smoking are known to play a role in infertility too. If a man is drinking more than about ten glasses of alcohol a week, particularly if he's binge drinking, then he's potentially affecting his sperm quality. Alcohol may affect sperm quality by increasing oestrogen production in the liver, as well as poisoning cells in the testes. While we tend not to think of alcohol as a poison, it can be toxic at high doses.

Smoking is thought to cause around 13 per cent of infertility. Wherever blood goes, the toxic things in cigarettes goes. So as the sperm grow and develop, they do so in a toxic swamp. In particular this links back to DNA fragmentation, which also increases the risks of the resulting child developing diseases early in life, particularly a four times increased risk of cancer in childhood " says Clark.

The bottom line is that a healthy balanced diet and keeping bad habits to a minimum is key to optimising fertility. The good thing for a man is that because he makes sperm continuously, by making dietary and other lifestyle changes he can significantly improve his and the couple's.

If you and your partner are having infertility issues, or have been trying to fall pregnant for 9 months or longer don’t suffer in silence, the team at Coastal IVF have created a program that provides excellent results based on high standards of clinical and technical expertise within a framework personalised to suit every couple’s needs.