Signs You’ve Got Healthy Semen - Alpha Male Nation
Let’s talk about semen
During ejaculation, men release through their penis a viscous liquid composed of sperm, which is actually a tiny percent here, and many other distinct elements that have the purpose to assure the health and fertilization of eggs by sperm. This is semen, the cloudy white or grey liquid released from the urethra on ejaculation. Its sole purpose is and to carry the sperm to the female reproductive system and to perpetuate our species. Although semen and sexual pleasure are strongly associated, the mechanisms that control them are actually separate.
Besides sperm, semen contains over 200 types of proteins, minerals, and vitamins, such as Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, calcium, chlorine, citric acid, fructose, lactic acid, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus, sodium, and zinc. How much of each it’s found in here depends on various factors like age, diet, weight, and lifestyle. A single ejaculation produces in general 2 to 5 ml of semen, which is about one-third of a teaspoon to a little over a full teaspoon, and it contains somewhere between 40 million and 600 million sperm. This number is determined by the volume of the ejaculate, the length and the time since the last ejaculation.
You might be under the impression that semen is produced in the men’s testicles, but the real quantity is only about 5%. More than half of the seminal volume comes from the seminal vesicles, another percent from the prostate gland and some are from the bulbourethral and urethral glands. Each has an important role in the reproductive system. Sperm is produced in the testicles and it takes 70 days to reach full development and to pass through the ducts of each testicle and the epididymis. After that, it can leave the body during ejaculation. The seminal vesicles, which produce more than 50% of the semen, contain plenty of fructose, fatty acids, and proteins that nourish the sperm. The substance that gives semen a sticky characteristic is produced here as well. The prostatic fluid has the purpose of neutralizing the acidic vaginal environment, so sperm can survive. The bulbourethral fluid cleans any urine in the urethra and lubricates the male reproductive tract.
What determines healthy sperm? What affects it?
The quality of your sperm, which basically translates into fertility, is given by factors like quantity, movement, and structure.
You have more chances to be fertile if the semen you ejaculate contains at least 15 million sperm for each milliliter. Less sperm equal fewer candidates for egg fertilization. The sperm has to swim through the woman’s cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes, but fertility is given by at least 40% of moving sperm. Chances are increased for sperm that has the regular shape of oval heads and long tails.
Healthy sperm is not always a guarantee and understanding the factors that affect it is the first thing you need to do to protect your fertility. If you are planning a pregnancy with your partner, you need to maintain your health and see what else you can do to ease the process and to increase the chances of a success. There are many environmental and other types of factors that determine fertility and semen quality in general. For example:
- Toxic pollutants
- Anabolic steroid use
- Endocrine disrupters
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Zinc deficiency
Other elements that are probably easier to control also affect the semen and sperm fertility.
Overheat: sperm needs a cool temperature and that’s the reason why it’s stored outside the body in the testicles. Therefore it needs to be kept at lower temperatures than 98˚, otherwise, the sperm production is stopped. This can have a negative impact for months, so you might want to keep away from heat exposure.
Hot tubes and Jacuzzi time can also affect your sperm because wet heat is not good for your semen. The sperm production is temporarily decreased even after 30 minutes spent in hot tubes, although the effects might be reversible. Sperm takes kind of a long time to reach maturity, so any decrease in the production can last at least 3 months until there are any improvements.
The same long-lasting effects on men’s sperm will have a high fever. So, try to avoid getting sick if you want to help your partner get pregnant.
If you’ve ever heard about laptops affecting the men’s ability to reproduce, you should know that there is some truth in it. The reason is once again related to heat. Certain positions can increase the temperature of your scrotum, thus harming your sperm.
Constriction: If you want to keep high levels of sperm, boxers are definitely better than briefs. Wearing tight clothing and especially tight bicycle shorts for extended periods of time affects the sperm production. Constricted pants create an inhospitable environment for sperm production.
Obesity: strongly associated with high levels of estrogen, obesity decreases sperm count and increases the chances of infertility. Overweight men have reduced sperm and low testicular function.
Substance abuse: smoking and drinking can impair sexual function. The quality of your semen is affected in a negative way by alcohol abuse, while cigarettes impair the sperm’s motility, which means that it slows it down and decreases its efficiency in reaching to the egg. To make things even worse, smoking increases erectile dysfunction and it damages the sperm DNA. Alcohol also reduces testosterone production and leads to impotence.
Toxins: environmental toxins like pesticides or lead can affect the quality of your sperm, so working with chemicals should be done with great measures of protection at all times.
Signs of healthy semen
How should semen look like?
- Right after ejaculation, semen is usually white or grey and cloudy and it takes about 30 minutes until it transforms into a clear and runny liquid. It sometimes appears to have a yellow tint, but that is not a reason for concern.
What’s the smell of healthy semen?
- A chlorine kind of smell is normal for semen. Bad smells are usually signs of infection.
How about the taste?
- The high content of fructose can give a sweet taste to semen. The diet is very important and it can change the taste in many ways. It changes for each person and there isn’t a rule that corresponds to all men. If something’s wrong, you will be able to tell.
Men who struggle with infertility while trying for a baby can test their sperm by making a semen analysis. Before any treatment takes place, the first step is to test the semen and assess its quality.
- The usual amount of semen is somewhere between 2 and 5 ml per ejaculation. This includes all the fluids that come from the testicles, the seminal vesicles, the prostate gland and from the bulbourethral glands.
- High quantity of sperm in your semen increases the chances for fertilization. Nature’s rule is the survival of the fittest, so millions of sperm have higher chances of success. Most of them will drop on the way and sometimes it’s difficult to even for one to reach the egg in complete shape. The lower limit of sperm for each ejaculation is 40 million, while the upper limit reaches 600 millions sperm.
- Sperm concentration is also a factor that contributes to fertility and 1 milliliter of sperm should contain at least 15 million specimens.
- The normal shape of sperm is that of an oval head and long tails which propel it forward to its destination. Just 4% of your sperm actually have that shape and it can get very difficult for the others to fertilize an egg.
- Motility, or the sperm’s movement, is very important because they have to pass through a harsh environment that creates all kinds of obstacles. The sperm moves on their own, by swimming and wriggling all the way through the female’s reproductive system until they reach the egg. A healthy sample of sperm only has 40% moving specimens. Progressive motility implies a forward movement and it’s best that at least 32% of the sperm swim in the right direction.
- Sperm viability refers to the number of live sperm found in semen. Healthy semen contains more than 60% of viable sperm. Lubricants can kill sperm so you should try to use something that’s safe for fertility.
- Semen ejaculation is thick and gelatinous, so it’s easier to stick to the cervix. The liquefaction enables the sperm to swim better to their destination. It usually takes 20 to 30 minutes for semen to liquefy after ejaculation occurs.
- The semen can be acidic or alkaline and pH is the measurement of this quality. Normal seminal vesicle fluid is rather alkaline, while the fluids from the prostate are more acidic. There is a fine balance of the pH and too much acidity can keep sperm and prevent fertilization. A pH greater than 7.2 is ideal.
- Semen includes white blood cells that fight against body infections. The white blood cell count should not be higher than 1 million cells for each milliliter of sperm.
A man’s fertility can’t be assessed just by looking at the semen he ejaculates. A sperm analysis is the only viable text for giving a straight answer and to test the health of semen and sperm.
Ways to improve the health of your semen
Sperm is made in your testicles and its medium is the semen. If you want to be fertile you need to make some smart choices for maintaining proper health and a good environment for your semen. There are factors which go beyond anyone’s control, but there are also areas where you can make significant improvements and assure a good chance for reproduction. If you already apply these things to your life, you are most likely to have healthy semen and you will not have problems with your reproduction.
- Your diet: is one of the most important and easiest aspects that you can take care of. Avoid eating junk food, processed foods and lots of sugar and you already made the first step for improving your health. Your entire body will have a lot to gain, but what’s even more useful at the moment, it will keep your semen healthy. Stick to fruits and vegetables that are rich and antioxidants and vitamins, especially on those that contain Vitamin C and E. These nutrients will have a positive aspect on your semen and on your fertility. One of the best choices you can make related to your diet is to eat as much fish as you like. Sperm concentration will be higher if you choose salmon or tune because they contain great amounts of Omega-3.
- Exercise: your sperm will become more qualitative if you add regular exercise to your daily routine. You will not only get toned muscles but losing fat will keep your hormones balanced and the production of sperm will not be affected. It’s very interesting that men with a waist circumference of over 40 inches have a lower concentration of sperm. Make sure to work your abs and keep fat away from your body. Extra weight will interfere with the production and natural development of sperm. A sedentary life is damaging your semen, so keep your blood pumping and go to the gym at least 15 hours a week.
- Don’t overdo it with testosterone: even if your aim is to gain muscle, when you are planning a family it’s better to stay away from testosterone boosters. The natural production gets shut down and your body won’t be able to produce sperm as a result. Even though testosterone is associated with masculinity, the sperm production will be suppressed if you have too much of it.
- Clothing choices: briefs not only constrict you, but they also suffocate your sperm. Boxers and lose clothes are more appropriate if you want to have a high sperm count. Tight clothing affects the movement of sperm and it makes it difficult for them to reach the egg. Another advantage is a lower temperature in the scrotal area, meaning you have great chances of having healthy sperm.
- Plastic and microwaves don’t mix well: even if it’s convenient, you might want to transfer the food from plastic containers into a glass one before putting it into the microwave. Research has shown that bisphenol-A, a chemical that is passed from plastic to the food and then to you, is truly damaging for your sperm. It affects the motility of sperm. This might be caused by the estrogen release and androgen activity in the epididymis in your testicles, leading to underdevelopment of sperm.
- Keep calm: stress is a major factor that affects the quality of your semen. It reduces the sperm concentration and chances are you have more abnormal sperm when you are completely stressed out. You should meditate, sleep and get the optimal rest during the night, exercise and lose the tension. You should enjoy your free time and have fun once in a while because it will help you get healthy semen.
Help your body produce normal sperm in regular shape. Foods rich in antioxidants are excellent for this job because they fight the free radicals that mess with your sperm. The chances for the sperm to reach the egg and manage to fertilize it will be heightened. Greater numbers of sperm are obtained by regularly using the gym. Exercising has positive effects on your semen and entire health. Moreover, it naturally boosts the production of testosterone which is closely connected with the production of sperm. Avoid keeping your phone too close because the electromagnetic waves might cause some interference with your sperm. Their mobility can be impaired by this factor. Another solution to keep your sperm alive is to be careful in your choice of lubricants. Changing the pH or containing harsh chemicals can actually kill your sperm.
What’s the condition of your semen? Are there any areas that could use some improvement? You should take care of it right now. Maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle is usually enough to keep your semen healthy and your sperm strong enough to achieve success. If you see any irregular aspects it’s recommended that you consult your doctor. Keep in mind that many things can be prevented ahead of time and it’s up to you to avoid any damage to your body. A healthy body is not only attractive but also increases your chances of reproduction. That’s all you need to do for having healthy semen.