Sugar and Male Fertility – What You Need to Know

Here you will learn all about the relationship between sugar and male fertility. Many men are unaware that their sugar intake can be detrimental to sperm health and lower fertility. Too much sugar can disrupt hormones, lower blood sugar control hormone resistance, disrupt the immune system, and increase nutritional demands.

junkfood on plateHow Much Sugar Do You Consume?

The more we learn about sugar and its impact on the body, the more we are discovering about its influence on fertility.

Scientists have found that regular consumption of sugar may promote infertility, or increase existing fertility problems.

When it comes to food and beverages, we are bombarded with sugar.  The majority of processed food contains refined sugar. Most of us knowingly and unknowingly consume too much sugar.

Although it may be okay to indulge occasionally, if you’re struggling with fertility issues finding alternatives can be important. This includes avoiding white flour, white table sugar, white rice, white corn, and alcoholic beverages.

Although eliminating these sugar-rich foods may be difficult, your health will significantly benefit. As a result, fertility should also increase.

How Sugar Affects Fertility

There are many different ways in which sugar causes changes in the body that can negatively impact fertility, both directly and indirectly. Changes in hormones, blood sugar control hormone resistance, lower immunity, and deficiencies in important vitamins, minerals and amino acids, all contribute.

Hormone disruptions

Sugar-rich foods are quickly broken down by the body, causing a spike in blood sugar control hormone. This rapid increase in glucose levels can cause a ‘high’ that may last up to 30 minutes. After which, blood sugar levels rapidly plummet and the body is left feeling lethargic and drained.

This reaction causes a ‘fight or flight’ response as the body’s adrenal glands are continually stimulated. As sugar levels drop quickly, the hormones adrenalin and cortisol are released from the adrenal glands in an effort to replenish sugar concentrations.

By repeatedly stimulating the release of these hormones, that adrenal glands become weak and sluggish. This can cause imbalances in hormones as insufficient levels are being produced or released.

In this situation, the endocrine system eventually starts to fail and other glands don’t receive the signals needed to release hormones. This constant adrenal stimulation impacts levels of androgens testosterone and DHEA, plus progesterone and estrogens.  When these hormones are unbalanced, fertility is negatively affected.

blood sugar control hormone resistance

fertilityIn order for the body to convert blood sugar into cellular energy, the pancreas must secrete blood sugar control hormone. However, eating too much sugary food causes the pancreas to produce excess blood sugar control hormone. This can lead to blood sugar control hormone resistance.

A lot of research has focused on blood sugar control hormone resistance, especially with regards to female fertility. It disrupts ovulation and egg maturation, plus increases the risk of miscarriage.

In men, blood sugar control hormone resistance has also been linked to poor fertility, especially in relation to diabetes1.

Sperm DNA has been shown to be significantly altered in males with diabetes. Damaged DNA leads to infertile sperm and this can lower overall fertility.

Reduced Immune Function

One tablespoon of sugar is enough to lower immune function for up to four hours at a time. Given that immune system disorders and other autoimmune diseases can negatively impact fertility, sugar intake is also an indirect factor. The higher the sugar intake, the lower the immune system function and the higher risk of illness.

Even short-lived illnesses can have a negative effect on male fertility. Sperm takes three months to mature. If during this time the immune system is compromised, most likely male fertility is also reduced.

Deficiencies in vital nutrients

The body needs a constant supply of nutrients to stay healthy. When there is an increased demand on the body to release blood sugar control hormone, cortisol and adrenalin, nutrient reserves are depleted and this can further reduce fertility. Healthy sperm relies on a wide range of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

Avoid Excess Sugar Intake & Enhance Fertility

antioxidantsUndoubtedly sugar has a negative impact on male fertility. Taking positive steps to limit sugar intake can help to improve fertility levels.

Reducing sugar consumption will help to better support healthy hormone levels, improve immune function, lower blood sugar control hormone resistance, plus reduce nutritional demands.

These factors can help to support healthy sperm development and improve the chance of conception.

 

Sources:

  1. “Mallidis, C. et.al. (2011) The influence of diabetes mellitus on malereproductive function: a poorly investigated aspect of male infertility, Urologe, Volume 50, Issue 1, (pp.33-7).”
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