Friday, June 27, 2014

Sperm, Semen Defects May be Tied to Shorter Lives

Men rendered infertile due to defects in their semen and sperm are more likely to die earlier than men with normal semen, new research suggests.

Over a period of about eight years, men with two or more abnormalities in their semen had a risk of death that was more than double that of men with healthy semen, researchers reported in the May 16th issue of Human Reproduction.

Knowing this, doctors who treat men for infertility should advise them to adopt healthy habits that might boost their survival, said lead author Dr. Michael Eisenberg, assistant professor of urology and Stanford University School of Medicine’s director of male reproductive medicine and surgery.

“There may be a window of opportunity here. When they see their doctor they could do some other things that might benefit them.” Eisenberg said. “I see this as an opportunity to pay more attention to your health and be more proactive.”

For the study, Eisenberg and his colleagues reviewed the medical records of about 12,000 men age 20 to 50 who had visited either the Stanford University School of Medicine or the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to be evaluated for possible infertility. Doctors recorded information on the patients’ semen quality, such as total semen volume, sperm counts, sperm movement and shape. The researchers compared patient data with death records to track the men’s death rates, while taking into account underlying health issues that could compromise semen quality.

While no single semen abnormality in itself predicted early death, men with two or more such abnormalities had 2.3 times the risk of death during the study period compared with those with no semen abnormalities. The greater the number of abnormalities, the higher the risk of death, the study found.

“This striking increased death rate in men with abnormal semen parameters highlights the urgency and need to investigate the causes of male infertility and not to just proceed with assisted reproductive technologies,” said Dr. Natan Bar-Charma, director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

”My belief is that infertility provides a window into a man’s later health, and I think it would apply to both sexes,” Eisenberg said. “We can expect to see the same effects in women as well.”

Sperm DNA fragmentation rates have steadily risen since first being measured in the 1950’s. Back then, if 50% of your sperm had fragmented DNA, you were considered to be a healthy male capable of procreation. Today, you are considered a healthy male if 96% of your sperm have fragmented DNA.

DNA repair is related to adrenal function. The more capable we are to adapt and thrive under stress, the better our chances of survival as individuals and as a species. It would also appear; the more capable we are of reproduction.

Adrenal adaptogens are herbs that can regenerate the adrenals and can facilitate DNA repair. (Please review my blog on Hidden Adrenal Issues.) Ashwaganda, Korean Ginseng, Rehmannia, Schisandra, and Tribulus all have excellent research to document their status as adaptogens. Every one of these herbs has been shown to reduce DNA fragmentation in males and all of them are commonly used to treat infertility.

However, as the article points out, they do so by improving general health. Increased fertility is just a consequence of a healthier body. These herbs also decrease percent body fat, increase lean muscle mass, improve libido and sense of well being. They really do make you look and feel younger.

Infertility is a sign of poor or declining health. Look for the health issues rather than just employing technology to procreate.

Source: WebMD News -Friday, May 16, 2014