Your Guide to Better Sperm Health

You’ve received your Béa Treatment kit and you’re ready to get going, but you may have some questions around sperm health and how to optimise your chances. Look no further than our handy guide of 5 tips detailing everything from lifestyle and diet changes to exercise and making conscious choices.

1. A Focus on Nutrition

Food is a vital part of our lives and provides us with the nutrition we need to function. If your goal is to lose weight – make gradual changes. Crash diets could lead to quick weight loss; however, they may deplete your body of nutrients, which is not beneficial when looking to improve sperm quality. The most important thing is finding something that suits your lifestyle, allowing you to eat well and enjoy food.

There is no single food that contains all the nutrients we need, and eating a mixture of foods is optimal for a healthy, balanced diet. This can help maintain a healthy weight while providing an appropriate intake of the following:

  • Fibre. Increasing your fibre intake can improve your gut microbiome and promote healthy sperm production. High-fibre foods include wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, brown rice, fruit and vegetables.
  • Protein. Adequate protein intake is essential for the production of healthy sperm. High-protein foods include lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, lentils and beans. 
  • Fruit and vegetables. It’s important to eat fruit and vegetables to ensure you’re getting enough vitamins and antioxidants to protect your sperm from any DNA damage. 
  • Healthy fats. Healthy fats are a key component of a healthy diet and can enhance sperm count and morphology. Healthy fats can be found in fatty fish, eggs, avocados, nuts and olives.

2. Reducing Unhealthy Habits

If you smoke, drink excessively or take recreational drugs, it can have a negative impact on your sperm quality. Reducing unhealthy habits can help improve the health of your sperm.

  • Stop smoking, vaping or using nicotine-containing products. Smoking can increase the risk of heart and lung disease, but it can also lead to problems with fertility. The chemicals found in cigarette smoke can damage the genetic material in sperm and can reduce the sperm count and sperm motility. 
  • Stop recreational drug use. Recreational drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and anabolic steroids can interfere with your fertility and cause health complications in a developing baby. Prolonged cannabis use can cause hormone disruptions, which in turn can affect testosterone levels in men, and can reduce the production of sperm.
  • Consider reducing alcohol consumption. Your fertility is unlikely to be affected if your consumption is within the recommended guidelines of 14 units per week. However, excessive consumption can have a negative impact on your testosterone production, which may negatively affect the number of healthy sperm being produced.

3. Making Conscious Choices

We need food to function, but some foods should be kept to a minimum. You don’t need to be over-restrictive, but there are some things that can have a negative impact on sperm quality that you may want to try to reduce. 

  • Reduce sugar intake. Research shows that total motile sperm count and concentration can be significantly lower in those who consume multiple sugar-sweetened beverages per day. 
  • Reduce carbohydrate intake. High carbohydrate intake can cause inflammation in the body, which can damage the DNA in sperm. 
  • Reduce ultra-processed foods. Processed foods often go through multiple processes and contain added ingredients that are highly manipulated. A high intake of ultra-processed foods can be associated with significantly lower sperm concentration.
  • Choose healthy cooking methods. Avoid roasting or frying foods in large amounts of oil, fat or butter. You can choose olive oil or coconut oil as an alternative to butter when frying or explore other cooking methods like baking, grilling and steaming foods. 
  • Choose healthy snacks. Nuts are a great snack for sperm health, particularly walnuts and Brazil nuts, as they contain selenium and omega-3. Berries are also a good option as they’re rich in antioxidants, folate and iron – all essential nutrients for sperm production. 

4. Taking Essential Supplements 

You should be able to get most of the vitamins and minerals you need by eating a healthy and varied diet. Supplements don’t replace a healthy diet, but they can be a useful accompaniment for optimum sperm health. If you have any questions or concerns about a supplement, be sure to check with your GP so you follow the recommended instructions.

Here are some of the more important nutrients you need for sperm production and why:

  • Zinc → contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress and to the maintenance of normal testosterone levels in the blood. 
  • Vitamin B12 → deficiency has been associated with decreased sperm count and motility. 
  • Vitamins C and E → are antioxidants that help protect sperm from DNA damage and can help contribute to better sperm motility. 
  • Selenium → contributes to healthy sperm production and can increase sperm motility and morphology. 
  • Omega-3 → can help maintain a healthy heart and brain function – but omega-3 can also help protect sperm from oxidation. 
  • L-carnitine → can help assist in sperm metabolism and function. 

Avoid testosterone supplements

Not all supplements are good! Check whether any protein powders or supplements contain testosterone. Synthetic testosterone from an external source can reduce sperm production.

5. Exercise

Regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight and promote hormone balance, like with testosterone levels, to ensure healthy sperm production. Try to find something you can enjoy, and that fits into your lifestyle.   

  • Gentle exercise. We’re not saying you should start running marathons (we certainly don’t), but gentle exercise like yoga can be beneficial. It can be a great way to start getting a little more active! 
  • Cardio exercise. Cardio refers to any exercise that gets your heart rate up. Running is a simple and effective cardio exercise for your entire body. It can be really tough getting started – we really like the NHS Couch to 5K programme. Cycling* and swimming are also excellent cardio exercises. *Yes, even cycling. Read our FAQs for some myth-busting on cycling!
  • Team sports. Not only will team sports like tennis or football help get you more active, but they also have the added benefit of doing exercise with friends! This can be great for staying motivated and feeling supported when trying to stay active or lose weight.
  • Weight training. Weight training is one of the more popular types of exercise for building muscle. Some studies show that strength training and weight lifting can increase testosterone levels, which are vital for sperm production.

More Lifestyle Tips...

Making any changes to your diet and exercise can have lifelong benefits, but it’s also important to look at the external factors that can influence your lifestyle.

Here are some suggestions to support your new changes: 

  • Meal planning. Boring, we know, but planning meals in advance can help you stay on track and make sure that you’re eating the foods that are beneficial for you and your sperm quality. It can also help you when food shopping to avoid the temptation to pick up high-fat or ultra-processed foods (this also helps you save money!).
  • Seek support. Get someone on your team! Making diet and exercise changes can be a big thing, and you may feel really excited in the beginning, but motivation can dwindle. Having a friend or family member make changes with you can give you the additional support you need to stay motivated. 
  • Be kind to yourself. Lapses in healthy eating and losing motivation to exercise are common, but don’t let this make you feel like you’ve failed (you haven’t), so ditch the guilt. Making nutrition and lifestyle changes can be hard, so it’s important to be kind to yourself and allow time for your mind and body to adjust. 

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Understanding a Sperm Analysis

Problems with sperm, including a low sperm count and sperm quality, are quite common. They’re a factor in around 1 in 3 couples who have trouble trying to get pregnant and affect approximately 7% of all men. A semen analysis is often the simplest way to identify if there are any issues with your sperm health. The analysis will look at the volume of the sample, the concentration (how many sperm there are), the motility (how the sperm are moving) and the morphology (how the sperm are shaped).

Semen Analysis Results

The results are usually presented in a report and should include the following...

What happens if any of the results are below normal?

If your semen analysis results indicate that your sperm quality is below the normal range, you may be informed to repeat the test in a few months’ time. Semen and sperm production is continuous, and it takes (on average) 90 days to produce new sperm.

Should you visit your GP?

It’s possible that certain medical conditions and medications could be impacting your sperm health. If you’re worried that an underlying health condition may be affecting your sperm, speak with your GP before you start making any changes to your lifestyle. This might include:

  • If you’re regularly taking medication. Don’t stop or start taking any prescribed medications without first consulting your GP. They can help you optimise your lifestyle to improve your sperm health.
  • If you’ve had cancer treatment. Many chemotherapy drugs damage the cells that produce sperm and may cause azoospermia (no sperm in ejaculate) right after treatment. You may need to visit your GP to discuss what treatment options may be suitable if you’re looking to have children in the future.
  • If you experience ejaculation problems. Problems maintaining an erection or ejaculating are common, however, it can create a barrier when trying to conceive or monitoring your sperm health. If you have persistent problems with ejaculation, you can visit your GP who can help make a plan to support you. 
  • If you have or suspect you might have an STI (sexually transmitted infection). STIs are extremely common but most are easily treatable. Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are two of the most common STIs in the UK. Both can be cured with antibiotics, but could lead to fertility problems if left untreated, so it’s important to visit your GP or a sexual health clinic to access tests and treatment if you have or suspect you have an STI.

How The Béa Treatment can help...

One of the key parts of the treatment that can be beneficial for those with low sperm quality – is the cervical cap. The cervical cap concentrates semen at the opening of the cervix, delivering up to 3.2x more sperm into the cervical mucus than sexual intercourse, helping them get where they need to go. In addition, the cervical cap minimises the contact of semen in the vagina (where the pH can reduce sperm quality) and reduces semen backflow.

Our clinical-grade ICI treatment kit allows you to perform insemination from where you feel most comfortable, at home. The Béa Treatment Kit has two Béa Applicators for two rounds of insemination per menstrual cycle, to increase your chances of success. The applicator places our custom cervical cap against the cervix, holding semen in place for up to one hour, ensuring that more sperm have the opportunity to get to the end of the fallopian tubes to fertilise an egg.

Sperm Health FAQs

When can I expect to see an improvement in my sperm health?

We all want quick results, but it can take up to 3 months before you see any changes in your semen quality, as it takes (on average) 90 days to produce new sperm. We know that’s a long time, but try not to be discouraged or let motivation dwindle. Being committed to your new lifestyle will benefit you and your general health.

What type of improvement can I expect? 

Depending on the lifestyle changes you make, you could expect to see improvements across all semen parameters. One study has shown that by introducing exercise, sperm morphology and motility improved. Another study showed that weight loss in overweight men resulted in an increase of sperm concentrations. 

Does cycling impact my sperm production?

While it may be a common fertility concern, a study on British cycling habits has found that men who cycle regularly are not more likely to be infertile. The research conducted by scientists at University College London also debunked the myth that cycling increases the risk of erectile dysfunction.

Does it matter how often I ejaculate?

Some people think that if they don’t ejaculate frequently, they’ll “save up their sperm” for a higher concentration or higher sperm count. This is not the case. Studies have indicated that if your abstinence is longer than 7 days, then it might have a negative impact on your sperm count and motility. Ejaculating every 2–5 days is ideal for optimal sperm health.

Discover Our Other Guides

Ovulation Tracking Guide

Pregnancy Testing Guide

Treatment FAQs

Need more support? 

Trying to make nutrition and lifestyle changes might feel daunting (we’ve been there!), but often these things seem overwhelming and bigger before you start. Not to say it’ll be a walk in the park (those are good too), but sometimes you need to take the plunge and see what it’s like!

Know that we’re here every step of the way. The Béa Care Team is led by experienced medical experts who ensure we offer a safe, reliable and effective treatment experience for you.

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