Did you know that there are a number of everyday things that people do that could be straight up killing their sperm? Questions like: Does eating walnuts affect it? How about wearing tighty whities? Drinking soda does what to one's nether regions? And does a certain type of workout have negative effects on your quality of Ummm output… We’ll discuss it, plus other everyday things you didn’t realize are destroying your swimmers.
Alright, I’m sure you’ve probably watched a movie and seen where the person awkwardly goes into a sperm bank or fertility clinic and is given a little plastic cup and has to then produce a sample. Not a Costco sampling, you know the type of peace offering I'm talking about. It’s a little nerve-wracking, maybe a little embarrassing… And all for what? The topic of infertility. In fact, did you know that in a recent study, experts found that the average sperm count over the past 38 years has declined by 59% ? Yes to put that simply Sperm count is going down my friends and I’m here to discuss possible reasons this might be happening. So here are 8 possible sperm damaging everyday habits that we need to talk about.
Number One: Lack of sleep.
Okay so If you have a habit of staying up late playing video games or binging Netflix or whatever, remember this one detail. In fact, people who got less than 6 hours of sleep per night were 31 percent less likely to get their partners pregnant as compared to those who slept 7-8 hours per night.
Why is that you may ask? Well without getting too technical, lack of sleep equals lower testosterone in the body which is essential for sperm production. But then again don’t go too crazy on the snooze button either. Other studies found that folks who slept longer than 9 hours a night often demonstrated lower fertility levels as well. So like the goldilocks and the three bears story, to make sure your porridge is just right…8 hours is truly the sweet spot to keeping things healthy.
Number 2: Processed Meat
Evidently eating processed meats like Bacon, hot dogs, salami, and so forth may decrease the reproductive hormones that help with the formation of healthier sperm. Yep, It all goes back to testosterone again. And that being said if you want to save your swimmers so to speak, you may want to order up another swimmer, some fish. That’s right, according to a study out of Harvard, Diet and semen quality were closely related.
Of 155 men they found that those who ate mostly fish or consumed a diet that was higher in omega-3 rich fish like salmon or tuna, they had higher sperm counts than those who ate less fish. And get this, there may be another helpful food as well. A small study in 2012 found that Walnuts may be key to improving sperm vitality as well. They studied 117 men ages 21 to 35 who ate 18 walnuts daily for 12 weeks. They found that their sperm was better than those who did not eat the walnuts.
Number 3: Hot Tubs and Saunas
Yep, you may have seen a hot tub time machine where those 4 friends get a glimpse of their future via the magical jacuzzi, well my friends when it comes to hot tubs and your sperm vitality, you’re going to be wishing you had a time machine to get those precious minutes and swimmers back. Yes Here’s the deal, testicles (aka the area where your sperm are produced) well they are outside of the body for a reason. You see, ideally, sperm production occurs at around 93.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Which is about 5.4 degrees below the normal body temperature of 98.6. So in other words heat-related to the hot tub or sauna exposure could affect sperm count and quality over time. In a small study that followed men and a Scandinavian-style sauna program, researchers found that people who participated in the study were found to have lower sperm counts and reduced sperm motility after the prescribed sauna use. However, they did find that the effects were reversed when their studied men avoided sauna use for three months.
Number 4: Drinking Soda
Mountain dew making you infertile? Im sure you have heard that rumor before. But in a human reproduction study, they found that folks that drank more than one sugary soda a day had lower sperm motility as compared to those who rarely guzzled soda. Super interesting data for sure but let’s think the even bigger picture here. Eating or drinking too much sugar, in general, can lead to insulin resistance which can lead to inflammation in the body which would, in turn, hinder how your sperm moves. Also too much fat in the body prompts your body to make less testosterone and higher amounts of estrogen which could be a no go for your sperm as well. So in general whether it's actually the soda, or just a general unhealthy lifestyle or higher amounts of sugar or fat in one’s body. They all can greatly affect your swimmers. Keep that in mind. This goes for alcohol as well. An occasional beer or glass of wine seems to be fine but research also linked heavier drinking to lower testosterone levels, lower sperm counts and smaller numbers of healthy sperm.
Number 5: Stress
Yep Stress, the dang stuff is just bad for the body in general and can lead to a number of life-threatening issues but here’s how it can affect one’s little reproductive cells specifically. A study out of Columbia University found that people with higher levels of stress had worse sperm quality than those who said they were less stressed. You see stress in the body throws your hormones out of whack, which we know can create inflammation in the body among other things, which in turn can be detrimental to your little friends.
Number 6: Electronics.
Well maybe not all electronics, but there are reports out there that say keeping your smartphone in your pocket or say your laptop on your lap for extended periods of time could not only hinder the way a person’s sperm moves about the cabin so to speak but it also decreases the number that is swimming around as well. Whether it’s some unforeseen radiation from the phones or heat being emitted from the electronics near your groin area hampering your sperm production, more studies would be needed to specify the exact causation but it may just be something to keep in mind. You may just want to be cautious about where you keep your laptop or phone. Like maybe don’t store your phone in your front pocket right near the scrotum if this is a concern for you.
Number 7: Cycling
Alright sorry to report but our next sperm destroyer may not sit well with cycling enthusiasts. In fact, it could be the setting that's causing the issue in the first place. But cyclists beware, because a study of Spanish triathletes that compared cyclists to non-cycling athletes found not so great news for those who like to pedal around town. The study suggested that regular cycling equated to poorer sperm quality and count for those particular athletes.
Number 8: Tighty Whities
Okay so I’ll try to keep this brief, pun intended.
Okay, all jokes aside there is some belief out there that certain underwear options could be leading to lowered count as well. So this begs the question to the boxer or not to the boxer? Well, something to consider… When the testicles are held or positioned more tightly against the body as they would be if one was wearing briefs, the scrotal temperatures could possibly elevate and damage the sperm. And evidently, the same idea applies to those who frequently cross their legs. The added friction and possible rise in temperature could be doing a number on one’s sperm.
Lowering Sperm Count:
So what exactly is considered low sperm count or as they call in the medical field: oligospermia. Well you may be surprised to learn that sperm has a pretty intense journey before its grand finale and it takes about two and a half months to prep all the sperm expelled in an average ejaculation. But once you put in the time, a human can produce around 150 million sperm a day. That means you are producing a few thousand sperm every couple of seconds. So a low count would be fewer than 39 million sperm per ejaculation. And that may sound like a lot still but you also have to think in terms of quality so to speak. They may have deformities like two heads, small heads, or do things like swim in circles. Or be damaged to the point where they can’t even swim and do business as usual at all.
Actually, some experts describe only more than half the sperm in an average semen ejaculation can swim, and higher percentages than that are not ideally shaped for swimming.