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Fertility Road Magazine 46 - September/October 2018

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The latest issue of Fertility Road Magzine brings you our latest Fertility Journeys update, a closer look at stress and infertility, natural approaches to endometriosis and a how your weight can affect your chances of getting pregnant plus lots, lots more.


BODY EXPERT: Michelle Mulliss FOOD PORN It’s a Man’s World Parenthood is something that not just the mother needs to get ready for; dads need to be prepared too. Infertility is on the rise in our modern world. According to statistics, there has been almost a 20-30% rise in infertility in the last five years. In men, the quality of semen is the main reason of failing to impregnate the partner with 35% of male infertility issues are due to low sperm count and motility. Common reasons for male infertility are low sperm concentration (oligospermia), poor sperm motility (asthenospermia), and abnormal sperm morphology (teratospermia). The exact reason for the decline in semen quality is not clear, but environmental, nutritional, socioeconomic and other factors are starting to come into focus, but what can you do to help improve your sperm health? Stock up on fruits and vegetables: A study conducted by the Harvard University found that eating yellow and orange coloured vegetables and fruits had a profound effect on the health of the sperm. Yellow and orange colour in fruits and vegetables have an abundant amount of “carotenoids” including beta carotene which is converted to Vitamin A in the body. It is one of the most potent antioxidants. Sweet Potato and melon were found to improve both the quantity and quality of sperms while red vegetables particularly tomatoes, which contains lycopene, improved the quantity of abnormally shaped sperms by 8-10%. Break on the processed food: Processed and take away fast foods are known to be detrimental to our health. A young men’s study carried out at the University of Rochester took a group that was fed a diet high in processed and red meat, refined grains, fast foods, high energy drinks and fast food. Another group were put on a healthy diet of chicken, fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legume beans. It was no surprise that those on the healthy diet had better sperm motility which has been supported by various studies of the positive role of diets high in whole grains, legumes, fruits vegetables and fatty acids on sperm health and fertility. Manage the cholesterol: We have seen that couples with a high levels of cholesterol take longer to conceive. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism concluded that couples or either of the partner with high cholesterol found it difficult to conceive as compared to other couples. So, ensure to get in those fibres, whole fruits and lean plant proteins into your daily diet and keep a check on your lipid profile. Ditch saturated fats: Saturated fats do not only have an adverse effect on your heart and waist line but are also major contributory factors for low sperm count. Studies have suggested that even a 5% increase in saturated fat intake could result in a decrease in sperm count. Protect against oxidative stress (OS): OS is directly related to cellular damage which is caused by free radicals known as reactive oxygen species (ROS). Small amounts of ROS are needed for functioning of the sperms, however when their number increases, and our antioxidant defences are overwhelmed impacting on the quality of sperm. Weight in check Obesity is a health target for the NHS, and research has shown that obesity has an impact on reproductive health with reducing sperm concentration and delaying conception. Increased 10 | | fertilityroadmag | follow us @fertilityroad

BODY BMI is also associated with decreased levels of testosterone and an increase in oestrogens – causing low sperm counts and infertility. Nutrition can be a minefield when it comes to fertility which to some can be overwhelming with the marketing of supplements. It’s important to reiterate that to maintain health, a varied and balanced diet is key. However, certain nutrients have been shown to increase sperm count, motility and quality which include; Vitamins Vitamin A deficiencies have been linked to sluggish sperm and motility issues. Eat plenty of red peppers, oats, carrots, dried apricots, sweet potatoes, spinach and broccoli to give you a vitamin A boost. Vitamin C, found in good amounts in strawberries, asparagus, fruit and yellow veggies, has a positive effect on sperm viability and motility (the swimming ability of sperm). Vitamins C, E and B12 are also great antioxidants that can help boost sperm production and motility by fighting harmful free radicals. Minerals Inadequate levels of zinc can cause lowered sperm counts. Natural sources of this mineral can be found in oysters, eggs, turkey, seafood, pumpkin seeds, liver, beef, oats, lamb, yoghurt, nuts and barley. Selenium is also thought to be beneficial to sperm motility and health. You can get it by eating Brazil nuts, red meat, cottage cheese, poultry and eggs. If you don’t think you are getting enough zinc or selenium, a multivitamin may help. However, be sure to stick within the recommended dose, as high levels of both these minerals can become toxic. Fatty Acids Studies have shown that fertile men’s sperm tend to contain greater amounts of polyunsaturated fats (many unsaturated fats), specifically omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, than that of infertile men. They’re found in walnuts, chia seeds, omega-3 supplements like krill oil but can be found in oily fish like anchovies, sardines and salmon. Folic Acid It is well known now that women should take folic acid when preparing for pregnancy. This I believe should be extended to men as I see in clinic which is also supported with recent research that some men who have been taking dietary supplements containing folic acid in combination with zinc have experienced increases in sperm counts of as much as 70% and research suggests that men with low folic acid levels tend to have more sperm cells with chromosomal (genetic) abnormalities. Keep your levels up by eating leafy green veggies, whole grain foods, avocados, beans and fruit. Lycopene Lycopene, has been shown to help increase sperm count and can be found in tomatoes, carrots, watermelons and paw paw fruit. Water Many of us get caught up with such busy lifestyles that water intake can be forgotten. However, drinking plenty of water throughout the day you can counteract dehydration, which is one of the main factors associated with low semen volume. Food Porn Cooking and presenting food that is not only appealing but tastes great can be challenging, and many couples often ask for advice on how to cook the foods recommended in my clinics. It was through this concept and my love of cooking I created Fertile Foods cooking workshops. These workshops help encourage the understanding of nutrition in all areas of reproductive health and have helped couples embrace nutrition to add splash of fun in the pan. | fertilityroadmag | follow us @fertilityroad | 11

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Fertility Road Magazine 46 - September/October 2018

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