Sipping on a can of fresh, cold beer, and relaxing after a stressful day at work can sound tempting. But did you know that this simple indulgence of yours can affect your sperm health? In fact, according to recent studies, even moderate consumption of alcohol on a weekly basis can cause low sperm quality in men, who are otherwise healthy.
The fact that alcohol affects your fertility has been established. Now, the question is— what amount of alcohol consumption harms your fertility? According to a study conducted by Reproductive Biomedicine, heavy, consistent, or binge drinking, specifically, five or more drinks in a two-hour timeframe can have a negative effect on sperm health. Furthermore, consuming more than 14 mixed drinks per week can lower testosterone levels and affect your sperm count.
Heavy drinking can affect male fertility by altering sperm count, shape, size, and motility. Drinking can also cause low production of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone (both responsible for sperm production), early or decreased ejaculation, and a rise in estrogen levels affecting sperm quality. Mixing your alcohol with drugs like opioids or marijuana can affect your fertility levels. Liver diseases such as cirrhosis can also affect your sperm quality.
Studies have indicated that excessive alcohol consumption reduces testosterone levels (primary sex hormone) in men. In some cases, it can also lead to the shrinking of the testicles. In fact, a recent study determined that a single glass of alcohol can have a drastic impact on your testosterone levels. This mostly happens because alcohol consumption enhances the body’s ability to eliminate testosterone from the blood and produce more estrogen.
Moreover, since testosterone is involved in all functions of the male reproductive process, a reduction of this hormone can lead to conditions like impotence or inability to get an erection.
In order to have healthy sperm levels, the body must produce adequate levels of testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These hormones in turn help maintain the quality of certain cells in the testicle called Sertoli cells— a protein responsible for the healthy development of sperms.
However, alcohol consumption reduces the production of LH and FSH hormones, leading to the degradation of the Sertoli cells. This results in the formation of fewer and malformed sperms, which are unable to swim and reach the egg.
The good news is that the effect of alcohol on male fertility is reversible. For this to happen, you need to make some strong changes to your diet. For instance, you will have to stop drinking and avoid smoking, stress, and anxiety. You will also have to keep a check on your weight as being overweight can have a negative impact on your fertility.
Make your diet more well-balanced by adding healthy ingredients. In fact, a recent study established that men who consumed a Mediterranean diet, filled with leafy vegetables, fruits, seafood, and whole grains, had high sperm quality and motility. Some other tips to enhance male fertility include:
Apart from this, you can also try discussing your nutritional needs with your doctor. This will help you determine whether you have low vitamin levels and steps to manage it.
If you have been unable to conceive for more than six to eight months of having unprotected sex, then you must seek immediate medical care. Your doctor will first recommend a set of fertility tests to make a diagnosis and then determine a suitable treatment procedure. There are many ways to treat male infertility. Based on your diagnosis, the doctor can recommend medications, surgery, or assisted reproductive technology.
A healthy lifestyle is an essential part of boosting male fertility. Therefore, if you are planning to have a baby soon, start making good lifestyle choices now. That includes cutting down on alcohol, avoiding smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight. Eat a well-balanced diet enriched with healthy foods, and opt for regular health checkups to keep a check on your sperm quality and health.