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March 19, 2023

Sperm Counts Are Down 50% and Still Dropping


sperm counts are down
Artwork courtesy of Pixabay

Sperm Counts Are Down – For the Count

Could it be the end civilization? Can civilization survive an ever increasing drop in sperm counts? This study out of Israel reports sperm counts are down 50% over the last 46 years in some parts of the world – and still dropping.

Beyond the continuation of having future generations there are other reasons why we – especially men – should be concerned that sperm counts are down.

Low sperm counts are associated with not only a decline in human fertility (obviously), but are also an indicator of men’s health, with low levels being associated with increased risk of chronic disease, testicular cancer, and a decreased lifespan in general. Low sperm counts are also linked to genetic birth defects.

But there is more. This 2016 study showed that men with low sperm counts had a 30% increase in developing diabetes and 48% increase in developing coronary artery disease.

The Israeli study made no attempt to explain why sperm counts are down, just that they are. Sperm counts are down on average 1% per year during the past 46 years.

This study sites evidence to suggest a new entity of testicular dysgenesis syndrome characterized by poor semen quality, testis cancer, undescended testis and hypospadias. Testicular dysgenesis syndrome may be related to adverse environmental influences.

Sperm Counts Are Down: Why?

Researchers of the Israeli study pointed to recent research that indicates that disturbances in the development of the reproductive tract during fetal life are linked to lifetime impairment of fertility and other markers of reproductive dysfunction. Additionally, lifestyle choices and chemicals in the environment are likely adversely affecting this fetal development.

In this post and this post of ours we discussed that consumption of saturated fat and junk food may be culprits that explain why sperm counts are down. Let’s face it – much of food we now eat is not healthy. Kelly Brownell, in his book, Food Fight: The Inside Story of the Food Industry, coined the phrase “toxic food environment”.

If you consume much food that comes in a bag, box, can, or jar, then you are being exposed to chemicals many of which are harmful to our health when they exceed certain levels.  Add in air pollution and water pollution and our body’s detoxification system gets overwhelmed and our body is harmed by the toxins.

To give you an idea of what we are exposed to take these numbers into account.

  • 85,000: the number of synthetic chemicals that have been manufactured since World War II and present in our homes and places of employment.
  • 2,000: the number of new chemicals introduced each year and found in products we use everyday.
  • 53: the average number of cancer causing (carcinogenic) chemicals we each have in our bodies.

This 2018 study showed that DHEP and DBP which are two phthalates are associated with lower semen quality and difficulty becoming pregnant.

Bear in mind this fact: Chemical exposure and unhealthy lifestyle habits can compromise fetal development and impact a child’s reproductive health and overall health, or even the child’s next generation.

Sperm Counts Are Down: What to Do

The following advise is simple but it is not easy to avoid so many toxins.

  • Start with your diet and eat whole foods and organically fed meat. Much of our meat supply is treated with hormone and antibiotics that make their way into our bodies.
  • Avoid use of plastics as much as possible. One of the worse places to avoid plastics is the hospital where plastics are ubiquitous (IV tubing, syringes, needles, and nearly all medical equipment). Plastic are also found in toys, personal care products, furniture, electronics, packaging, and more. Consider reading our article, Are We Killing Ourselves with Hormone Disruptors.
  • Instead use glass, china, and metal as much as possible.
  • Limit use or exposure to per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) which are found in several consumer products like stain and water repellent used on carpets, upholstery, clothing, and other fabrics; cleaning products; nonstick cookware; and paints, varnishes, and sealants.
  • If you are a male with low sperm counts have a hormone work up performed part of which would include testosterone levels as testosterone levels tend to parallel sperm counts.
  • Adopt a healthier lifestyle. In addition to healthier eating, keep your weight down (fat is a reservoir where toxins accumulate) and better manage stress which has been on the rise since the COVID pandemic.

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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