Pre-pregnancy: Dad to Be
I specialise in female health, with the one exception that is pre-pregnancy. Often the fertility preparation is seen as important for only women. Whereas, over half of couples that experience subfertility (i.e. they are less than normally fertile) is a result of a problem on the male side (Norton, 2015). Which is why in this instance, I also see men in clinic as the best results from pre-pregnancy nutrition will be when both sides make changes to their diet. Also, this can be a great experience to go through together and can really bring you closer together.
If you are trying to conceive then both partners should ideally prepare for at least 3-months in advance. Sperm takes 4 months to develop so changing the diet for over 3 months can drastically improve the quality of your newly formed sperm.
The quality of sperm has drastically decreased over the past 50 years. The decline in sperm quality is attributed to environmental rather than genetic factors (Holford, 2009). Environmental factors include: stress, poor nutrition, exposure to environmental chemicals (plastics, pesticides and cosmetics) which can have an oestrogenic effect that mimic female hormones and can cause a decrease in sperm quantity and quality.
It is ideal to do some preconception preparation before conceiving and a I will generally recommend at least 3 months of preparation prior to conceiving, although this is not always possible. During the 3-months, recommendations may include some of the following (although as always, it depends on the individual and your uniqu'e self):
In practical terms start with avoiding cigarettes and avoiding or at least reducing coffee and alcohol.
If you were willing to invest the money (£500), I would advise all pre-pregnancy cases have full nutritional evaluation test, NutrEval. This test would highlight any nutritional imbalance, gut health status, omega ratio and any toxic heavy metals present.
As always, eat the rainbow, replace refined carbs with complex carbs (including over 30g of fibre), sufficient protein and healthy fats (especially omega 3s DHA during this time).
500mg of vitamin C, twice daily can improve sperm motility (Holford, 2009). I prefer a whole food vitamin C, like the one from Pure Synergy.
Chromium is important (found in eggs, chicken, whole foods) as it supports the body to make new cells, including sperm cells
Zinc is probably the most important mineral for improving male fertility. Zinc is found in high concentration in the sex glands and the sperm itself (in the tail, thus it is required to swim optimally). There is a simple 'at home' Zinc test to give you a rough indication of your zinc levels at present, you can purchase here).
The above is not an exhaustive list, although it is a good starting point. If you would like to discuss, how I could help you through your pre-pregnancy journey – please contact me below. Everyone is welcome to a complimentary 20-minute call to discuss whether Nutritional Therapy would benefit them.
Holford, P (2003) The Homocysteine Solution
Holford, P (2009) Optimum Nutrition: Before, During and After Pregnancy
Norton, H (2015) Your Pregnancy Nutrition Guide