The sperm count in Western countries has declined by more than 50 percent since the 1970s. At the same time, men’s problems with conception are increasing: erectile dysfunction is increasing and testosterone levels are decreasing by 1 percent each year.
Mount Sinai Fertility Scientist Dr. Shanna Swan, in her book “Count Down” (Scripper), reported on Tuesday that the current state of reproductive affairs cannot continue for long without endangering human existence. “This is a global existential crisis.”
Dr. Hans must know – she has been researching fertility for over thirty years. She studied an abortion surge in Santa Clara, California, in the 1980s, which she eventually linked to toxic wastes dumped in drinking water by a local semiconductor plant. She peaked at sperm rates in 1997 and they have since been “canaries in the coal mine landscape”. In 2017, it alarmed with a meta-analysis of 40,000 men, which revealed that the sperm count had fallen by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011.
We are already seeing the impact. Between 1960 and 2015, fertility declined by 50 percent worldwide. The total birth rate in the United States is 16 percent which it needs to replace itself. Although, there are obvious factors at play (the couple later conceive and oppose having small families), Hans argues that the issues go deeper than personal choice.
Miscarriage rates are increasing and girls are experiencing earlier and older puberty (in some cases before the age of 8). “In some parts of the world, the average twenty-one woman today is less fertile than her grandmother, at 35,” Hans writes.
It is no surprise that the assisted reproductive technology market is valued at about $ 21 billion and is projected to grow 10 percent annually by 2025.
Nevertheless, women have been focused on reproductive issues for a very long time.
“If women want to have a child, they are often told, ‘Clean up your act,” Hans writes. “But it is probably more important for men to do so.”
Normal sperm count ranges from 15 million sperm per milliliter to 200 million per milliliter. Although the World Health Organization considers the rate below 15 million to be “low”, Hans argues that anything below 40 million poses challenges to reproduction. Today the average male possesses that number at 47.1 million sperm per milliliter. Compare him to his father, who had an average of 99 million sperm per milliliter, and it is clear that this is a deeply worrying trend.
Today, not only men have less sperm than their father, but they also have lower testosterone levels. A 2006 study showed that in 2002 a 65-year-old man would have testosterone levels that were 15 percent lower than a 65-year-old man in 1987. A similar decline has been observed in young adults and adolescents by 2020. Urology Times Journal article.
As a result, according to Forbes, prescriptions for testosterone replacement therapies doubled between 2010 and 2013, but there was a disturbing side effect: “90 percent of men can drop their sperm count to zero while they’re at it.” , ”Hans writes.
Sexual desire has followed a similar path. Hans writes, “The decline in people’s sex drive and interest in sexual activities is causing a massive sexual meltdown.” Men now seek help for erectile dysfunction, an average of seven years before they were done in 2005, and 26 percent of men who deal with it are under 40 years old.
At the more extreme end of things, there is an overall increase in genital abnormalities, including a high documented rate of obsolete testicles and an unusually small penis. These issues are reflected in the animal kingdom. Baltic gray seals have reduced reproductive abilities, polar bears have smaller genitalia and higher-than-average testosterone levels, and crocodiles, panthers, and minks have all shown increased reproductive and genital abnormalities.
So what is going on?
Many of us eat a lot of things that are not good for us, run very little, drink too much alcohol, and engage in habits that actively inhibit our reproductive abilities, Swann writes.
But other things are beyond our control.
Hans points to plastics and chemicals in our immediate environment, compounds that disrupt the hormonal systems of both men and women and make it difficult to reproduce. One example cites sShe, for example, phthalates – near ubiquitous chemicals that make plastics more resilient and cosmetics and beauty products are better able to absorb the scent. These chemicals have been linked to reduced production of hormones such as testosterone and “male reproductive outcomes”, according to a 2018 research review.
Flame retardants found in mattress and foam furniture also alter the same hormones that cause infertility in men, according to a 2016 study in the Journal of Reproductive Toxicology. In addition, chemicals used as stains, water and oil repellents in fast-food packaging, paper plates, and stain-resistant carpets, semen quality in other household items, testicular volume, and even sex Are associated with a decrease in length. .
Pesticides also have a negative effect on male fertility. An herbicide, specifically called atrazine, is used to prevent some weeds in corn and sugarcane on lawns and golf courses, it has been linked to lower sperm quality.
Infertility does not just change a man’s ability to have children, it also increases his mortality. According to a Stanford University study, infertile men are younger than their infertile peers. Men with sperm concentration less than 15 million per milliliter were 50 percent more likely to be hospitalized for any medical reason, and poor fertility has been associated with higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
But there are some things we can help tip on the scales.
The first step is to quit smoking, drink alcohol and maintain a healthy weight. Cigarette smoke is associated with a decrease in sperm count and an increase in sperm defects. Drinking large amounts (more than 25 units per week) is also dangerous for sperm. (Interesting, though, seems to hold seven drinks a week to grow Compared to those who do not drink sperm production.)
According to one study, men who cycled ninety minutes or more per week had a 34 percent lower sperm concentration than those who did not ride a bicycle. And saunas are notorious sperm overheaters. Binging on TV also reduces sperm count (probably because sitting in the same place for too long can harm sperm production), while men who do workouts, according to a Chinese study on sperm donors There are more sperm counts. So stay out of the sauna, get off that bicycle, and find other ways to exercise.
Also, cut stress. A Danish study showed that men who reported the highest levels of work stress had 38 percent fewer sperm counts. Swann’s own research supports this. “Men who have experienced two or more recent stressful life events – such as the death or serious illness of a close relative, divorce or serious relationship problems, walking, or job change – were more likely to have below normal sperm concentration . “She writes.
A high intake of full-fat dairy foods, especially cheese, has been associated with greater sperm abnormalities. “These unfortunate effects may be due to the presence of large amounts of estrogen in dairy products or environmental pollution such as pesticides and chlorinated pollutants in these products,” Hans writes.
In addition, men who eat a lot of processed meat (hot dogs, bacon, sausage, salami) have a lower sperm count and a lower percentage of sperm in general. The theory is that “chemicals are produced in the treatment of meat…. It can cause cancer and also damage DNA, including DNA in sperm.”
Research shows that couples undergoing IVF treatment have to follow a Mediterranean diet (whole grains, good fats, lots of vegetables), who were 40 percent more likely to conceive than those who did not. Hans also urges people to buy organic to avoid pesticides and herbicides that can be infused with male hormones, especially those that are most contaminated, such as strawberries, spinach, bananas, apples, and grapes. She also states that people avoid any animal product that is not organic and does not try to buy animal products labeled as “raised without antibiotics” or “no added hormones”.
She also urges people to avoid hygiene and skin care products that are antibacterial, and endorse products labeled “paraben-free” and “phthalate free”. In addition, she insists on using nontoxic household cleaners to disinfect vinyl shower curtains, air fresheners, and dodge some of those hormone-disrupting chemicals. Hans also suggests that dusting more carefully will help your home (and body) get rid of a bad buildup of chemicals. A 2017 study showed that 45 potentially harmful chemicals, including phthalates and flame retardants, were found in the dust buildup in 90 percent of homes sampled in a study in the United States.
The goal here is to be more proactive about our reproductive health.
Hans writes, “We can no longer behave as if it is business as usual.” “The time has come for us to stop playing Russian Roulette with our fertility capabilities. It is up to us to pay attention to the message and take steps to protect our heritage. “