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What is sperm? You can approach this subject from a distance and say that it is a biological fluid erupting from the male body with a more or less regular intervals during the process known as ejaculation. Sperm is produced as a result of a long process in the male reproductive organs and, of course, contains sperm cells, but not only them. This is actually a complex mixture of various liquids in which sperm cells (all of them are somehow able to fertilize the egg) are supported in a living state a relatively short period of time.
Semen contained fluids are the product of the seminal vesicles and bulbourethral glands. They have been discovered a long time ago: first described by British anatomist William Cowper, 1666-1709. In addition, the seminal fluid contains various secretions (of prostate, epididymis etc.), as well as vitamins C and B12 and various minerals including magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, potassium and zinc. Finally, it contains protein, sodium, and two types of sugars: fructose and sorbitol.
No standard key figures do exist: the proportion of all the substances depend on the person, age, and in general on all the "circumstances" (starting with the time of a previous ejaculation and other more personal factors).
While the semen volume has little or no importance, its composition, in some cases, requires special medical research. Fertilizing capacity of sperm is seen "normal" when the sperm cells density ranges from 20 to 200 million per cubic cm. Anything below this mark means oligospermia. As is usually the case, people can not resist not to give a definition to quality, normality and fertility of semen. Thus, among the disorders can be distinguished: aspermia (no sperm, or its volume below 0.5 ml), asthenozoospermia (less that a half of sperm cells retain their motility during an hour), azoospermia (absence of sperm cells in the semen), cryptozoospermia (azoospermia, which disappears by a closer look in the microscope) and necrozoospermia (no living sperm cells at the moment of ejaculation).
Start thinking about your nutrition as the age comes
A recently published scientific study proves that an optimal diet helps to protect the sperm genome from the harmful effects of aging. It has been carried out by researchers of the California Berkeley Lab. They concluded that some micronutrients (vitamins C and E, zinc and folic acid) can improve the quality of sperm DNA in men of a certain age. The study synopsis and the results were published in the Fertility and Sterility magazine. The earlier studies of the same laboratory found that the older the man, the higher the likelihood of genetic disorders in his sperm. Thus, genetic mutations may be an explanation for the decreasing men's conception ability with age.
The study was conducted among 80 volunteers aged 22 to 80 years. The first conclusion was simple: among men aged above 44 years that have been consuming more of vitamin C there was 20% less genetic variation in the semen than among their peers who have been almost deprived of that element. The same goes for vitamin E, zinc and folic acid. To do this, each of the participants completed the questionnaire, through which an average daily level of vitamins intake was derived, based on the food intake. The amount of these micronutrients was distributed into three groups: "low", "moderate" and "high." Average consumption was 162 milligrams of vitamin C, 23.7 milligrams of vitamin E, 2.586 micrograms of β-carotene, 475 grams of folates and 12.3 milligrams of zinc.
Thus, all the men who are at increased risk of genetic disorders in sperm because of their age, can deal with this aging, by eating sufficient doses of these vitamins and minerals. These data are especially important given the growing number of men who want to have children at an older age than in the past. Naturally, such a trend raises concerns about the health of the population. One particular reason for concerns is the increasing frequency of genetic mutations, as recently reported in the Nature magazine.
Underwear as a risk factor
A similar question (about the factors that could affect the quality of sperm) was raised in the journal Human Reproduction. This publication refers to another (changeable) risk factor: the type of underwear is quite able to influence the quality of sperm. The study examined the lifestyle and medical history of men who had identified problems with conception, and whose sperm had normal or low mobility. The existence of a connection of the sperm motility with smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and "soft" drugs remains rather controversial and still open question. At the same time, wearing tight clothes and underwear, apparently, can be directly associated with decreased sperm motility.
This "show case" study was conducted by researchers at the University of Manchester, Sheffield and Alberta in men aged 18 years, who were under therapy in 14 specialized fertility centres. The experts reviewed a range of factors. In particular, they advised not to wear close underwear, as well as to avoid contact with certain chemicals in certain work areas. All this, they say, is the risk factors for low sperm motility, and, therefore, infertility. These factors, particularly relating to the underwear are quite easy to change.
Nuts to prevent infertility
Scientists believe that eating 75 grams of nuts a day can help improve the quality of sperm, although, of course, it is unlikely to solve all the problems with male infertility. With the increasing spread of the disease, special attention was attracted by the following study of the University of California, which was published on August 15 in the Biology of Reproduction magazine.
Dr. Wendie Robbins and her colleagues at the University of California (Los Angeles) tried to understand whether the use of polyunsaturated fatty acids to improve the quality of sperm. As we know, one of the best sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids are not only fish and fish oil, but also some grains and nuts, which contain linolenic acid (it belongs to the family of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids). Scientists divided 117 healthy men into two groups aged 21 to 35 years. One of them has been forbidden to eat nuts, while the other was consuming the nuts amount of 75 grams a day.
12 weeks later semen analysis was performed: no significant changes in terms of mass, weight, or activity in both groups. At the same time, the sperm of young men who ate nuts and, thus, increased their level of omega-6 and omega-3 was better with fewer chromosomal abnormalities. In the control group, no similar changes were detected. You can decide for yourself what follows from this.Source: Passé 44 ans, votre sperme a besoin d'une alimentation adaptée All news »»