Men’s health is the other side of the coin to explain the decline in fertility. Sperm counts in men from America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand have dropped by more than 50 percent in less than 40 years.
The rate of decline is not slowing. Both findings -- in a meta-analysis bringing together various studies -- pointed to a potential decline in male health and fertility.
"This study is an urgent wake-up call for researchers and health authorities around the world to investigate the causes of the sharp ongoing drop in sperm count," said Hagai Levine, who co-led the work at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Jerusalem.”
The analysis did not explore reasons for the decline, but researchers said falling sperm counts have previously been linked to various factors such as exposure to certain chemicals and pesticides, smoking, stress and obesity. There is no medical solution to increase the sperm count. The recent trend to have children later in life makes the issue of a low sperm count, a crucial one.
What is missing from the analysis of a low sperm count is the roll of diet. Sperm count is linked to testosterone levels. Modern men’s diets can account for a major role in creating the lowered sperm issue.
Modern diets and many natural diets do not support a man’s overall health. Estrogen like compounds is present in foods that have higher amounts of pesticides such as certain fruits and vegetables, commercial meats, commercial poultry and commercial dairy products. These are known as zeno-estrogens. They act like estrogen to lower testosterone levels.
Sometimes those who are health conscious eat diets that are too high in plants or phytoestrogens. These include various types of soy products including soymilk, tofu, tempeh, soy sausage and other soy products. Hemp and flax seeds, and oils, are high in phytoestrogens. If consumed in large amounts, these foods lower the testosterone levels.
Foods in modern and healthy diets that suppress the metabolism can raise the estrogen levels in the body. These include the excessive consumption of nuts, seeds, nut butters and seed oils such as canola, soy, sunflower, and others. Bromated bleached flour, most commonly in white flour products, suppress the thyroid which can lower testosterone levels. Excessive amounts of liquids, fluoridated water, excessive consumption of raw vegetables and fruits can suppress the metabolism and testosterone production.
Diets that are missing key nutrients are modern junk food diets, low carb diets, and unsupplemented vegan and vegetarian diets. Vegan and vegetarian diets that emphasize fruits and vegetables also suppress the metabolism and lower the testosterone production. It is often misunderstood that vegan style diets meet nutrition requirements. In truth, many plant foods require eating unmanageable volumes of some of these foods to meet these nutrient requirements. Some key nutrients are just not available in them.
Physical, mental and emotional stress lowers testosterone levels in men as well as excessive dieting or eating too little foods. A low-calorie diet was proven to affect a man’s sexual functioning in the Minnesota Starvation Experiment run by Ancel Keys in the 1940’s.
Men have some similar and some different needs than women for reproductive health. Men need more calories than women. Men under 25 will need at least 3500 calories per day and more if physically active. Men over 25 need, at least, 3000 calories per day. For some men, there are plenty of calories in junk food diets, but key nutrients are missing.
For reproductive health men require more protein and nutrients from animal foods sources such as grass-fed lamb or beef, pastured eggs, raw cheese, wild fish, and naturally raised pork and poultry. Men need slightly more of these foods than women. It is imperative that men eat red meat several times per week as they need the extra iron and zinc for proper fertility. Foods rich in cholesterol in natural animal products promote the production of testosterone.
Natural gelatin powders and bone broths are essential to balance the intake of red meat and other high protein foods. The amino acids in red meat and poultry are inflammatory. The amino acids in bone broths and gelatin powder balance the inflammatory amino acids so they don’t harm the body. This is why traditionally meat was eaten on the bone and bones were used in soups and broths. You may remember your mother or grandmother cooking this way. These are the recent generations that achieved the highest longevity in the U.S. Organ meats have a similar balancing effect. So when the whole animal is eaten there is a balance achieved between the different parts just like what is promoted about plant foods as whole foods. Modern people are so disconnected from farming and nature that this idea is hard for some to grasp and accept, but not understanding this is a great danger to our health.
Carbohydrates in the form of grains are essential for men in order to get adequate calories in their diets. To get the right amount of daily calories, men need to eat more naturally refined white rice and unbleached white flour, as well as, natural sugars. Whole grains and sugars from cooked and some raw fruit and dried fruits are also fine, but have less calories. Raw fruit, particularly, has more water and less calories.
Men need fat soluble vitamins like women, such as vitamins A, D, K2 and E. Most are from natural animal foods such as liver and other organ meats, pastured eggs; grass fed dairy products, fish eggs, cod oil, sardines, fatty fish and others.
Natural fats in the form of butter, tallow, and lard from grass fed or naturally raised animals, and coconut and olive oil, are essential in adequate volume for the production of natural hormones and overall men’s health.
Sea salt to taste, herbs, seasoning and other natural foods are needed .
Elements of lifestyle such as either no exercise or excessive exercise, over exposure to electromagnetic fields from gadgets, pollution and other stressors knock down a man’s hormonal and overall health. Moderate, yet regular exercise is essential.
Commercial interests and convenience are driving nutritional choices for men with very poor consequences. The lowered sperm count if continued will affect not only fertility, but natural masculine vitality and health leading to weak men.
Men need to be trained from a young age in how to protect their health for future generations and to contribute to society. In the past men and women were known to have their own individual strengths. Today in some circles, it is believed that all of the characteristics were socially learned. Yet there is research that shows that some of our behavior is coming from the natural strength that is inherent in healthy men and women. Perhaps we can discover the truth of this by fostering the natural strength and vitality of men and women for our current and future generations.