Male Infertility and Acupuncture in Portland, Oregon

male infertility acupunctureMuch of fertility is focused around women, however not all infertility is due to the womanʼs body.   Many procedures that women undergo can be costly and invasive, all the more reason to look at the male to make sure he is also healthy.  Being aware of male reproductive capacities is an important part of increasing your chance of conceiving.  There are some simple but effective actions that men can take to increase their chance of success.  Male fertility is measured by sperm number, quality and motility.  Sperm takes around 90 days to develop from creation to ejaculation so treatment is a long-term plan that requires consistency.

Pre-natal vitamins for men?

One simple action for men is to take a multi vitamin that includes anti-oxidants like zinc and selenium.  Zinc is important for sperm count and motility while selenium helps with motility.  Food sources of these vitamins include nuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds for zinc and brazil nuts for selenium.  Vitamin C has benefits for it’s antioxidant effects especially in smokers who have agglutination (think sticky) problems (i.).  Also, essential fatty acids are beneficial for membrane quality and energy production.

Lifestyle

Men can also make lifestyle choices men that can help prevent interruption to their sperm production and health.   Testicular temperature above 96 degrees farenheit may compromise sperm production. The testes are on the outside of the body because they need a lower temperature to produce healthy sperm.   Avoiding tight clothes and underwear, as well saunas and excessive exercise help keep the testes at an acceptable temperature.  Also, get the laptops out of your laps.  Between the radiation and the heat it is best to have a barrier between you and your computer.  Cut out the big four: drugs, alcohol, smoking and caffeine all effect sperm production and health.  Acupuncture is a great way to support you if you need help to quit smoking or to detox from other substances.

Men can also make lifestyle choices men that can help prevent interruption to their sperm production and health.   Testicular temperature above 96 degrees farenheit may compromise sperm production. The testes are on the outside of the body because they need a lower temperature to produce healthy sperm.   Avoiding tight clothes and underwear, as well saunas and excessive exercise help keep the testes at an acceptable temperature.  Also, get the laptops out of your laps.  Between the radiation and the heat it is best to have a barrier between you and your computer.  Cut out the big four: drugs, alcohol, smoking and caffeine all effect sperm production and health.  Acupuncture is a great way to support you if you need help to quit smoking or to detox from other substances.

Nutrition

Become savvy about your food choices to fine tune your health and increase your chances of conceiving.   Whole foods, those foods typically found at the perimeter  of the grocery store, are more nutritious. When shopping choose organic fruits and vegetables to avoid pesticide residue.  Also, when buying meat pick animals that are hormone and antibiotic free.  Hydrogenated oils, are best avoided especially cottonseed oil which contains gossypol which may interfere with sperm production.(i.)    In fact, gossypol is being studied as a male contraceptive in other countries. (ii.)    Cottonseed oil, is in potato chips, salad dressings and other packaged food items so learn to read labels. Improving your eating habits as a couple makes changing your eating habits easier and supports you as a team.

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs

Chinese medicine including acupuncture and herbs can help with male fertility.  Traditionally, in China menʼs health and vitality were a focus to produce a male heir so it has been an important part of Chinese medicine for a long time. Regular acupuncture can help boost motility.  There is a traditional formula Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan or five seeds formula which is designed to help boost male fertility focusing on motility, quality and viscosity.  Another formula Hu Zhang Dan Shen Yin is designed to decrease anti- sperm antibodies a contributing factor to male infertility.  Conventional treatment is prednisone which has side effects like decreased sex drive.  Research shows that Hu Zhang Dan Shen Yin is as effective as conventional treatment. (iv.)  Lastly, for the man improving your health and vitality will help you feel better and to connect with your partner as you make this transition into parenthood.

For more information and a brief overview of male fertility visit this well laid out page by Spence Pentland and Lorne Brown.

Contributed by Jennie King, L.Ac. former acupuncturist at Blossom Clinic, Portland, Oregon.

References:

i. Dawson EB, Harris WA, McGanity WJ. Effect of ascorbic acid on sperm fertility. Fed
Proc 1983;42:531 [abstr 31403].
ii. http://www.waystogetpregnantfast.com/male-infertiity/
iii. ContraceptionVolume 65, Issue 4, April 2002, Pages 259-263
iv. Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2006 Aug;12(8): 750-5.

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