Natural Support for Men’s Reproductive Health & Male Fertility in Melbourne

Natural Support for Men’s Reproductive Health & Male Fertility in Melbourne

It’s important not to forget about a man’s impact on making healthy babies. Men are 50% of the equation when it comes to creating a healthy baby. Many times, I’ve spent several months and sometimes years sorting out the female’s health and fertility, only to find that there are issues with men’s reproductive health. That’s why I encourage both partners to be involved in the preconception journey, as it’s a great opportunity to have a comprehensive health check-up. Many ‘blokes’ only see a health professional when they are on death’s door, so being proactive in this way has lots of benefits that could include feeling more energetic, healthier, happier, less stressed and perhaps a few kilograms lighter!

The Sperm test or Semen Analysis

In the scheme of things, having a sperm test is one of the least invasive tests offered that takes a look at male fertility in Melbourne. The results include:

  • How many or count: When I first became a Naturopath 30 years ago, a normal sperm count was over 25 million sperm per ml. Around 18 years ago, the range was lowered to 15 million; and now, less than 10 years ago, a sperm count at or over 4 million is considered ‘normal’. Clearly the more sperm, the better, and several nutrients like zinc and herbs like Tribulus may improve sperm count.
  • What they look like: Termed ‘morphology’. Again, in the past, 25% abnormal sperm (those with 2 heads, no heads, funny looking heads, no tails, 2 tails, etc.) was considered normal. Nowadays, anything at or over 4% is considered ‘normal’. That means 96% of sperm are abnormal. Which may be fine for some IVF procedures like ICSI (where they inject the sperm directly into the egg to make embryos). Sperm can be affected by environmental toxins, electromagnetic radiation (EMR), and fake oestrogens in our food (called ‘xenoestrogens’). Cleaning up the diet, minimising exposure to EMR (no phone in pockets and switching to flight mode if left by the bed), and taking antioxidants and L-carnitine may support men’s reproductive health (1,2)
  • Whether they are moving, and whether that’s in circles or in the right direction (i.e. towards the egg): Termed ‘motility’, again this has declined over the years and reflects the energy within the sperm from the tiny little organs called mitochondria. CoQ10 and L-carnitine may improve motility to support male fertility in Melbourne.
  • Other parameters depending on the lab: If there are clumped sperm or debris, is means the sperm are impeded from moving as they should. Infections should be checked for and addressed, and Vitamin C and other nutrients may assist with clumping. If you do assisted reproductive techniques like IUI (intrauterine insemination where the sperm are first washed then inserted into the uterus), these issues are less of a problem. Low volume (amount of sperm per ejaculate) could be due to poor collection technique, low water intake or a blockage somewhere. DNA fragmentation is a relatively newer test that costs around $500 out of pocket and can look at the structural integrity of the sperm’s DNA, which may help to identify problems with men’s health. Melbourne Natural Medicine Clinic can assist you with this test.

Lifestyle Impacts on Sperm

1. Toxins: Smoking – Sperm is 13-17% less than non-smokers; risk of miscarriage and birth defects in the offspring may be higher (1).
Chronic alcohol intake – This may have a detrimental effect on count and quality (1)
2. Advanced Paternal Age: Men over 35 year have declining semen volume, morphology, count and increased DNA fragmentation. Advanced age is associated with lower pregnancy rates and increased miscarriage risk (1).
3. Genital heat stress: Long distance cycling is associated with increased testicular heat, subsequent oxidative stress, and suppressed semen parameters.
4. Unhealthy Diet: Full fat dairy, processed meat (think salami and mortadella), alcohol, excessive coffee and soft drinks found suppressed semen parameters (1)

Other Tests

During our preconception workup, we organise pathology tests privately or through your GP to check men’s health in Melbourne by testing relevant nutrient levels (Vitamin D, B12, Zinc, folate), markers of inflammation, and screen for thyroid, liver and cardiovascular health. We also offer in-house tests including body parameters (like muscle and fat percentages), oxidative stress testing, and live blood assessments. We also offer send-off tests like hair tissue mineral analyses to screen for heavy metals, allergy tests, genetic testing, gut health or extensive hormone tests, depending on your need. Contact us for more details about tests that may help identify issues with men’s reproductive health.

Treatment

Most of our male partners seeking support for male fertility in Melbourne receive quality male prenatal multi and omega 3 supplements plus whatever else is needed, depending on their requirement. There is some great recent research utilising L-Carnitine and Acetyl-L-Carnitine in a 2:1 ratio that may improve sperm motility and function and improve conception outcomes. We are excited about a newly released product where these amino acids, in the correct ratio, are combined with some targeted antioxidants. This is available in a once a day powder from our Melbourne clinic.

An Example Success Story

Joe (36 years old) and Meredith (30 years old) had been married for 4 years and had been trying to conceive for almost 18 months with no luck. When they sought professional help, they found that Joe’s sperm analysis showed low motility and low count, and the advice was that IVF was their only option. They completed 2 cycles of IVF with no results, then found Doreen a Natural Fertility Expert and came to me to prepare for another round. I explained that sperm takes around 90-120 days to form, and suggested they hold off for a few months and focus on their overall health while we worked on improving the sperm, and recheck the sperm in 3 months’ time to see if there was any improvement before doing another IVF cycle. Meredith’s cycles were regular with good fertile mucus, and we focused on her dropping 4-5kg to get Meredith into a healthy BMI range for conception. The treatment program started with a gentle ‘Detox’ that assists with clearing accumulated toxins, thorough testing and targeted supplementation. After 4 months, the repeat sperm count showed an incredible improvement – both the count and motility had improved so much it was within the normal range! They were thrilled that their hard work had paid off. They decided to try ‘naturally’ for a few more months before returning to IVF. They conceived within 3 cycles and went on to have a healthy baby boy!

Want More Info?

If you are not already our client, call one of our fertility experts at an appointment at Melbourne Natural Medicine Clinic. We can get your partner on track with men’s reproductive health to support your fertility journey. Call us on (03) 9686 2566 or email the clinic at info@melbournenaturalmedicine.com.au.

References:

1. Ahmadi S, Bashiri R, Ghadiri-Anari A, Nadjarzadeh A. Evidence based review Antioxidant supplements and semen parameters: An evidence based review Sedigheh AhmadiP 1. Int J Reprod BioMed. 2016;14(12):729-736.
2. Sansone A, Gandini L, Lombardo F. Carnitine in Male Infertility. Trends Androl Sex Med. 2017:35-41. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-41749-3
3. Lenzi A, Sgrò P, Salacone P, et al. A placebo-controlled double-blind randomized trial of the use of combined L-carnitine and L-acetyl-carnitine treatment in men with asthenozoospermia. Fertil Steril. 2004;81(6):1578-1584. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2003.10.034
4. Balercia G, Regoli F, Armeni T, Koverech A, Mantero F, Boscaro M. Placebo-controlled double-blind randomized trial on the use of L-carnitine, L-acetylcarnitine, or combined L-carnitine and L-acetylcarnitine in men with idiopathic asthenozoospermia. Fertil Steril. 2005;84(3):662-671. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2005.03.064

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