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With Sperm Counts Falling, Can TCM Support Male Fertility?

TCM Pulse Diagnosis

“Falling Sperm Counts Threaten Human Survival!”

This headline and others like it have been surfacing in recent years. According to the Mayo Clinic, a low sperm count is 15 million sperm per milliliter. That’s less than 39 million sperm total per ejaculate. More increasingly, some men are showing to have no sperm in their semen at all.

After a 2017 meta-analysis review published in Human Reproduction Update revealed that sperm counts in the west fell nearly 60% between 1973 and 2011, several media outlets picked up on this story and sounded the alarm that precipitously falling sperm counts are threatening the continuation of the human species. In fact, the lead author of the meta-analysis predicted that if current trends continue, male sperm counts will be non-existent by 2045. 

If there is a silver lining in reports of plummeting sperm levels in males, it’s this…

There is now gender equality when it comes to the inability to conceive. 

If there is a silver lining in reports of plummeting sperm levels in males, it’s that there is now gender equality when it comes to the inability to conceive.

For millennia, when a couple could not procreate, the shame and culpability was placed on the female. But a research study in the Lancet shows that men account for up to 50% of infertility problems. 

What is causing male infertility and can Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) help support semen count? 

What’s Causing Declining Sperm Counts?

Is there something in the water? In the food? In the air? What is (are) the root cause of male infertility? What is to blame for purportedly markedly reduced sperm counts, which declined by 40% in just 17 years from 2000-2017, according to a review in Environment International

Before addressing the possible reasons, it’s important to note that male infertility isn’t just a conception problem. Poor semen quality has also been associated with higher risk of common health problems such as cardiovascular weakness and lower bone density. 

One hypothesis for low sperm counts is that modern environmental products are causing a disruption to the human endocrine system. 

For example, a study from Poland says that exposure to a class of chemicals, phthalates, is one factor. These chemicals are ubiquitous in plastic products to make them more durable. And they may be to blame, say the researchers, for “diminished sperm count and deteriorated sperm quality, which may lead to infertility and higher incidence of congenital malformations of the genital tract.”

Of course, several lifestyle factors such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption may also be to blame. But those lifestyle factors have existed for centuries and haven’t led to a precipitous drop in male fertility. 

At this point, it’s pure conjecture as to whether modern environmental factors or stress are to blame. 

But even mainstream medical organizations such as the Mayo Clinic acknowledge that exposure to chemicals such as benzenes, toluene, xylene, herbicides and pesticides as well as heavy metals can cause male infertility. 

TCM Male Fertility: 5 Seeds For Semen Support

Besides limiting exposure to synthetic chemicals and managing stress, Chinese herbs may help support male fertility. 

Specifically, there is one TCM male fertility formulat that originated over 1,000 years ago. 

Legend has it that the seed for Wu Zi Yan Zong Pian, aka Fertifruits™ on, was planted in order to provide numerous offspring to the ruling Chinese emperor of the day. 

Composed of 5 Chinese botanicals—Lycium fruit, Chinese dodder seed, Palm-leaf raspberry fruit, Asian plantain seed and Schisandra fruit—Fertifruits nourishes the Kidney organ system. (Don’t confuse the organ system of TCM with the anatomical kidney of western anatomy; they are different.) The Kidney channel in TCM is the storagehouse of the essence of life, or Jing. Literally, Jing translates as “semen.” When someone who is of advanced age has heaps of vitality, it can be said that they have lots of Jing, even if they are female. 

According to TCM theory, the Kidney channel not only serves as the source of Jing, it also is the production facility of Yin and Yang energies. In order to conceive, there needs to be balance in Yin, Yang energies and adequate Jing. Because of modern stressors, including the environmental factors mentioned earlier, the Yin or Yang energy of the Kidney can become deficient. This, in turn, can hinder fertility and cause lower sperm counts.  

On a scientific level, male infertility is due to adverse sperm shape, size and motility. But these issues don’t address the root causes. 

Just remember that improved sperm quality does not happen overnight.