If you and your partner are having trouble getting pregnant, you've likely wracked your brain trying to figure out what you could do differently. Going over your lifestyle habits and health history are things many fertility doctors recommend, and analyzing your diet is often one of the first recommendations. Because a high sugar level can have a negative impact on sperm production and health, pay special attention to how much of the sweet stuff you're consuming.
What Impacts Sperm
About half of the one in six couples who experience difficulty conceiving a baby are having troubles because of sperm that's not high quality enough to successfully fertilize an egg, according to Pregnancy.org. There are numerous things that can have an impact on the quality of sperm, and diet is one. For example, a diet high in saturated fat might decrease the health of sperm, which is why cutting down on red meat is often recommended. Too much sugar or too much alcohol can also negatively impact sperm health.
Why Sugar is Bad
Eating large amounts of sugar can lead to weight gain, and carrying around excess weight can impact sperm production and quality. This occurs because being overweight can interfere with normal hormone production and release, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Being obese, and the corresponding hormonal problems, can lead to physical and molecular changes in sperm, according to a 2012 article published in "Spermatogenesis." Too much sugar might also impair DNA formation. A 2008 study conducted on mice, and published in "Pharmacogenomics," found that diets high in sugar can significantly alter DNA that leads to changes in the shape and structure of sperm, rendering it useless in fertilizing an egg.
Daily Sugar Limits
The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day. This translates to 36 grams of added sugar. Keeping your sugar intake within this limit will help you manage your weight so you don't experience the negative sperm side effects of being overweight or obese. Restricting sugary foods in your diet will also leave more room for nutritious things that will help you produce quality sperm.
Creating a Healthy Sperm Diet
Talk to your doctor about an appropriate diet for healthy sperm. He can help you create a diet that will make conception more likely, as well as boost the health and quality of your sperm. There isn't research that points to specific foods that you need for quality sperm, according to Pregnancy.org, but many nutritious options can help. For example, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, is often recommended. Fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods and whole grains should also play a role in your healthy diet, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Pregnancy.org: Nutrition for Healthy Sperm
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: How a Man’s Diet Affects Fertility Too
- Pharmacogenomics: Differential Sensitivity of Mouse Strains to an N-Alkylated Imino Sugar: Glycosphingolipid Metabolism and Acrosome Formation
- Spermatogenesis: Impact of Obesity on Male Fertility, Sperm Function and Molecular Composition
- American Heart Association: Sugar 101