Did you know that modern life has increased damaging effects on sperm? Several studies have shown that the average sperm concentration (number of sperm per ml) has declined by more than half over the last 60 years. It has been compounded by a 20% decrease in sperm volume. Why is this?
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as plastic, fossil fuels (oil and coal), pesticides and cosmetic additives seem to be strongly involved in infertility. Excess smoking, high amount of caffeine, rise of recreational drugs, as well as alcohol consumption have a detrimental effect on sperm quality and production. Many of these compounds or activities increase Oxidative Stress that will impair the production of sperm (or spermatogenesis). Also, some of them affect the sex hormone balance by decreasing the male hormone (testosterone) or inadvertently exposing men or children to derivatives of female hormone (estrogen).
Here are two examples of the most commonly encountered unsuspected culprits:
- Meat cooked at high temperature over open flame producing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) identified as very toxic (carcinogenic and mutagenic).
- Bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen produced by plastic. It contaminates drinks and food especially when heated.
All men planning conception must make every effort to avoid substances susceptible to cause sperm toxicity. In addition, all children must be protected against everything that can disturb their hormonal environment.