Testosterone and Male Fertility: What’s the Connection?

TestosteroneWe have all seen the flashing pop-up ads, promising that testosterone supplements will solve all our problems (spoiler alert: it won’t).  Once and for all, does boosting testosterone levels through treatments and supplements actually increase male fertility?

NOPE!

In fact, too much testosterone can shut down sperm production and lead to harmful side effects such as:

  • Mood swings
  • Aggression
  • Increased risk of heart attacks and strokes

Unless blood tests and symptoms prove that higher testosterone levels are necessary, boosting testosterone is not a wise choice.

What’s Going On

The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that controls male fertility.  The hypothalamus produces gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), a chemical that sends a message to your pituitary gland to produce two different fertility hormones: the luteinizing hormone (LH) and the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).  FSH causes the creation of sperm cells, while LH lets the testes know it is time to produce testosterone. When you take testosterone supplements, your hypothalamus thinks its job is done and slows down production of GnRH.  This leads to decreased sperm production.

But if you have low testosterone levels, don’t give up hope!  Check out our tips on how to naturally boost your fertility.

    • Keep Your Genital Area Cool: Heat near the genital area can decrease your sperm count.  Avoid saunas and hot baths, and keep your laptop off your lap.

 

  • Lose Weight: Maintaining a healthy bmi weight can be crucial to your success in conceiving.  Obese men have lower testosterone levels, as their fat converts testosterone to estrogen.  Losing weight may boost your testosterone levels and increase your fertility.
  • Get Vitamin D: According to a 2015 study, men who have low levels of Vitamin D are more likely to have lower levels of testosterone.  While sunlight is a good source of Vitamin D, prolonged exposure can increase your risk of cancer.  Other good sources of Vitamin D include mushrooms, fatty fish, and fortified foods, like grain products or skim milk.
  • Avoid Drugs and Alcohol: Recreational drugs, such as marijuana, have been linked to low testosterone in men.  Other drugs, like steroids and narcotics, can decrease sperm production.  Alcohol can impair the secretion of LH and FSH hormones.
  • Quit Smoking: This should go without saying, but smoking can have a negative effect on your health.  Specifically, it has been linked to lower reproductive hormone levels.
  • Exercise Frequently: Not only is exercise helpful in reducing stress and losing weight, but it can also boost your testosterone levels.

 

While taking testosterone supplements isn’t a safe or effective way of treating low-T levels, there are plenty of natural options to boost your levels.  Through a combination of healthy lifestyle choices, you can increase your testosterone and your fertility.