Expert reveals the small changes men can make to help increase fertility
Preconception care for women is something that is talked about often – but is there perhaps something men can do while trying to conceive that can have an impact on the process?
According to pharmacist Dr Sam Megalli, there certainly is: “It’s important, but it is something that is often overlooked.”
Speaking to 9Honey Parenting, the founder of Australian-owned vitamin and supplements brand Ultra Nature, says fertility issues affect men just as commonly as women.
Making adjustments to things such as your diet, exercise and sleep can have a major impact on your preconception health.
“A multi-pronged approach to preconception support provides the best chance of an optimal, healthy pregnancy,” Dr Megalli shares.
The expert revealing it can also have effects on the ease of their partner falling pregnant, and contributes to the future health of the baby.
So to help couple’s give their conception journey a healthy kick start, he is sharing his top five tips for men keen to conceive.
It’s important to consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet, exercise, or supplementation regimen.
Dr Megalli reveals diet can have a huge impact on a man’s preconception health and says there are a number of things you should focus on eating more of.
“Fruits and vegetables – the antioxidants found in foods such as leafy greens, citrus fruits and avocados, may help protect sperm from cellular damage and keep them strong and speedy.”
He also says the high zinc levels in oysters can increase semen volume – so they don’t just act as an aphrodisiacs’.
Other things he suggests eating more of include walnuts and fish.
“Certain fatty fish such as salmon and sardines are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids which also improve blood flow to the genitals
At the same time, the pharmacist also says men should be reducing the consumption of some foods that can have more of a negative impact.
“Processed foods and trans fats are a no go, as these foods may contribute to inflammation and hormonal imbalances making conception more difficult.”
He also notes that high-sugar items can contribute to inflammation and hormonal imbalance.
Research shows that alarmingly, nearly one in four Australians weren’t aware alcohol should be avoided altogether during pregnancy for the health of mum and baby.
And in response to this, the Food Standards Agency passed legislation this year which requires Australian beer, wine, spirits and premixed drinks to be required by law to warn of the harms of drinking alcohol while pregnant, from August 2023.
Though according to Dr Megalli it’s also important for men to be aware of the effects their alcohol consumption can have on conception.
“Men keen to conceive should limit alcohol intake and avoid excessive drinking to maintain healthy sperm production and quality.”
He says alcohol disrupts hormone production, affecting testosterone levels and sperm production.
“Similarly, while moderate caffeine consumption is generally considered safe for male fertility, excessive intake might impact sperm movement, count and hormone regulation.”
Dr Megalli suggests men should limit their caffeine intake to 200-400 mg per day.
He also encourages me drink two litres of water daily, to support general hydration and health.
Women who have started their journey to conceive would be familiar with prenatal vitamins.
Though Dr Megalli says men shouldn’t be overlooking the power of supplements and how they can improve their conception health – advising them to work with their doctor to see what may work for them.
Zinc amino acid chelate, folinic acid in the form of calcium folinate, Vitamin C and Magnesium amino acid chelate – are a few supplement ingredients that he identifies can work to increase fertility chances in men.
We all know good quality sleep can have a major impact on your overall health, though Dr Megalli says it can also go a long way in supporting your conception journey.
“Aim for seven-nine hours of quality sleep each night to support hormone balance and overall health,” he shares.
Your sleep environment should also be set up to maintain optimal sperm production, “avoid overheating and your environment is cool.”
While maintaining some form of exercise during your conception journey is good for both mum and dad, Dr Megalli suggests not overdoing it.
“Avoid overtraining as intense, excessive exercise may temporarily reduce sperm production, so balance is key,” he says.
He notes that engaging in regular and moderate exercise can help to support overall health, including reproductive health.