Sperm and your weight: the untold connection

Now, I want to be very clear here, there is a strong correlation between males who are overweight and infertility. For years we have placed the malfunction of conceiving a child on women. But, recent studies have shown that… once again… it’s not all women’s fault. In fact, there is mounting evidence that male obesity may equally be the cause of to infertility. I’m going to show you the effects of this and what you can do to reverse it so you at least you can hold up your end of the bargain.

So, how is this a thing and what are the real implications of my weight, really? Well, here’s the thing, since the 1970s the rates of obesity in reproductive-age men has nearly tripled. This is coincident with an increase in male infertility as evidenced by the increase in couples seeking artificial reproductive technologies (ART) especially intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Studies found that being overweight was associated with lower volume of semen, sperm count, concentration and motility, as well as greater sperm defects. You might think this is a stretch and yes, there are other other factors to consider such as smoking, alcohol, drug abuse etc. But, as more men become overweight and infertile it’d be crazy to not take this into consideration. Your lifestyle plays an important role and being overweight unfortunately is often a reflection of your lifestyle.

Carrying around excess weight can cause changes to hormone levels, as well as direct changes to sperm function and sperm molecular composition. This means you can affect the very nature of your sperm from it’ appearance as well as its functionality. We all remember that overweight kid in school claiming he doesn’t eat that much and he’s only overweight because of genetics? Turns out, he actually could have been telling the truth! If he had overweight parents or even just an overweight dad he could very much of inherited the “fat gene”. Epidemiology studies have concluded that obese fathers are more likely to father an obese child. Crazy to think that your lifestyle could directly affect your future offspring but it can. Both male and female offspring born to fathers with sub-optimal nutrition have similar metabolic and reproductive health pathologies. In fact, it’s becoming clearer that male obesity is associated with significant changes to the molecular composition of sperm which has implications for its function but also for the resultant embryo a paper written by Keltz et al showed.

So, what does this mean and how can you change this you ask? Keep on reading!

Not all is lost. Studies have shown that simple changes to one’s diet and exercise can be used to reverse the damaging effects of obesity on sperm function. Yes, healthier living is the answer.  Most guys tend not to make the connection between good nutrition and overall health, because, well, we like simplicity and nutrition can be complicated. But, good nutrition has the ability to keep chronic diseases at bay, improve sleep, and — more importantly–  increase sperm count which we just explored. For impotent men, not being able to hold an erection for sustainable periods at a time could be your body signaling that there there’s something wrong with your heart. Heart conditions such as heart disease are often linked to poor nutrition which, can be avoided!

Believe it or not men’s health and nutrition is very simple. Men need a healthy balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins– macronutrients–  as well as getting adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals– micronutrients. It is often misconstrued that men have completely different health guidelines from women. Often times men might need to consume a little more because they are larger in size and have more muscles. The main problem with men’s health and nutrition is that it is not talked about as much as women. When men want to lose weight they are often lost in a world of female driven weight loss solutions from Weight Watchers to Jenny Craig to Nutrisystem. Because these solutions are all feminine, men are usually left to either Bodybuilding.com or simply confused and alone.

This is why we created an app called Lyle built solely to help men lose weight. It’s a nutritional weight loss app that literally talks to you over text and tells you what to eat. Lyle provides weekly nutritional programs listing out your meals and can even send you the groceries you’ll need making it super easy to lose weight. You can download it here.

I hope you found this post interesting and if you have any questions around weight loss feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to help.

References:

  1. Palmer NO, Bakos HW, Fullston T, Lane M. Impact of obesity on male fertility, sperm function and molecular composition. Spermatogenesis. 2012;2(4):253-263.
  2. Fertility and a man’s weight. Fertility Coalition: yourfertility.org.au
  3. Obesity adversely affects sperms quality and quantity, finds study. The Independent, 20 September 2017

Phil Kasumu

Phil Kasumu

Philip Kasumu is the CEO and founder of Lyle. Lyle is an AI-powered weight loss app exclusively for guys that provides weekly nutritional programs and delivers the groceries too. Philip is an entrepreneur, ex-bodybuilder, personal trainer, and host of two podcasts: The Lyle Man Show and Startup Handmedowns.

2 Comments

  1. Nice guy June 16, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Hi doctor.how bad is the result of my sperm analysis?im 31.
    Color yellowish
    Volume 4.0
    Consistency sl.viscous
    Ph 8.0
    White blood cells 2.750,000
    Liquefaction time no liquefaction after 2hours
    Sperm count 8,200,000
    Microscofic findings
    Morphology 51normal 49abnormal
    4%roundhead18%tanperredhead6%amorphoushead11%constrictedhead10%pinhead
    Motility 10%motile3%poor activity90%nonmotile

    • Sara SDx
      Sara SDx June 20, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      I’m not a doctor but I can help you understand your results

      Volume 4 = high
      Sperm count 8.2 = low
      Total sperm count = 4 x 8.2 = 32.8 million = a little low
      Morphology 51% normal = excellent
      Motility 10% normal = low
      Total motile sperm count = 4 x 8.2 x 10% = 3.2 million = natural conception fairly unlikely

      The good news is that these numbers are in the range where I would expect some lifestyle changes (like improved diet, exercise, testicular cooling, and things like that) are likely to have a positive impact. Here’s an app that could help with that if you are interested. They are also in the range where an IUI is an option.

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