Return Of The Maca: 3 Superfoods To Increase Sperm Counts and Motility
“Superfood” is not just a trendy buzz word. Today, scientific studies are revealing the power behind some of these ancient ingredients. Below, I’ve focused on their impact on male fertility. So grab your hubs, and your grocery bag – we’re going shopping.
Lepidium meyenii, commonly know as Maca, is a Peruvian plant cultivated for more than 2000 years. It has been used for generations by Peruvian society for medicinal purposes but has just peaked the interest of the western reproductive scientific community.
As early as 1778, Spanish scientist H. Ruiz referred to the fertility-enhancing properties of Maca and its stimulant effects. In 2001, new research confirmed Ruiz’s musings. In the study men were given 1500 or 3000 mg of Maca per day for 4 months. The treatment resulted in significant increases in seminal volume, sperm count per ejaculum, motile sperm count, and sperm motility. A 2011 study on rats confirmed that the mechanism behind the increases was largely due to Maca’s impact on spermogenesis.
Maca is not only good for male fertility either. A study in 2104 demonstrated that Maca enhanced LH serum levels in female rats during the pro-oestrus LH surge.
2. Organ Meat:
A really interesting 2014 study in the highly respected journal Epidemiology found that young, otherwise fit, men in the United States that ate processed red meat had a lower total sperm count and lower total progressive motile count than those who did not eat processed meat. The study reads: “In the US anabolic sex steroids are administered to cattle for growth promotion 60 to 90 days before slaughter. Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and three synthetic hormones (zeranol, melengestrol acetate, and trenbolone acetate) are the main hormones used for this purpose. Levels of hormone residues in edible tissues are higher in treated than in non-treated animals, and there is concern that hormonal residues in edible tissues, particularly those of synthetic hormones, may result in adverse reproductive consequences among beef eaters. Because of this, the European Union banned this practice in 1989.”
However, the study also found that organ meat intake was actually correlated to a higher total sperm count, higher sperm concentration and greater sperm motility. Compared with non-consumers, men who reported consuming organ meats had 53% higher total sperm count, 41% higher sperm concentration, and 8% percentage units higher progressive motility than processed red meat eaters, after adjusting for potential confounders.
I know…Who knew? Walnuts? But a 2012 study tested the effect of 75 g of whole shelled walnuts per day added to the Western-style diet of otherwise healthy men ages 21-35 years old. They found a correlated improvement in not only conventional semen parameters but also sperm aneuploidy from baseline to 12 wk. The group consuming walnuts experienced improvement in sperm vitality, motility, and morphology, while no change was seen in the group continuing their usual diet but avoiding tree nuts.
So what does 75 g of walnuts actually look like? It means adding about 20 walnuts to your diet each day. Bring a baggie to work and snack on them throughout the day.
And its not just Western Medicine that points to the power of this super nut. Walnuts are considered one of the 300+ Traditional Chinese Medical Herbs written about over 1000 years ago. Known as Hu Tao Ren, Chinese doctors wrote of the medicinal properties of the walnut as having a strong effect on Jing – what Traditional Chinese Medicine describes as vital essence that governs reproduction. Look at that! Eastern and Western coming to the same conclusion. Namaste to that!
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