Sunday, November 16, 2008

TEsts for Unexplained and or Male Fertility issues

These simple and easy tests can rule out one issue that may be impacting your fertility.

In the last few weeks I have seen a few men that presented with low count, and issues with motility and morphology. I am always amazed at how many times when these issues come up, there are NO tests done to try to determine what may be causing the issue. I am equally surprised when I hear over and over again that there is an issue with the quantity or quality of the Se**men and sp**erm but medical professionals every thing is fine or perfect when areas are even outside the range that is suggested as Normal on the analysis.

Also in past tips I have talked about how inaccurate some analysis' are when done at a general lab versus a lab at a fertility clinic.
But today I want to discuss an area that the scientific literature supports as an issue for male fertility but again, I hardly see it tested.

The issue is hemachromatosis. This means that ferritin levels (which are the iron stores in our system) are too high. The result of this can be iron deposits in various organ systems in the body, including the reproductive organs. It is also an issue for cardiovascular health as well.

Most menstruating women will not have this issue because of the blood loss each month (however I have seen cases where menstruating women have excessive ferritin levels too so always have iron studies done).

There can be a familial tendency to excessive iron stores in the system so if there is anyone in the family that has had this it is worth getting it tested. The "normal" ranges may vary from lab to lab, but the latest research is showing that levels above 150-200 can be dangerous.

As discussed, this issue, i.e. excessive ferritin may be correlated with male fertility issues, so it is worth having it tested. There are some symptoms associated with this issues besides issues with the sp**erm. They are constantly flushed and reddish face, and aching in the joints of the fingers. If male or female and experiencing these symptoms then hemachromatosis could be an issue for you.

However I have see elevated levels of ferritin when these symptoms are not present. Sometimes this is the case for individuals who have an underlying thyroid issue that has been overlooked.

IN a few other tips, I discussed a test called lipoprotein (a) that can be associated with cardiovascular health as well as less than optimal levels of thyroid hormone, and in a few cases of patients with the hemachromatosis the Lp (a) (lipoprotein a) has been elevated as well. In my opinion these are two important tests to check out if you are dealing with male fertility issues because if elevated they can not only be an explanation for male fertility problems, but they can be addressed and potentially prevent cardiovascular issues such as heart attack or stroke by possibly decreasing these levels and therefore decreasing the risk.

There are a few ways the hemachromatosis can be addressed. One is thru diet:
!) eliminate refined sugars as well as other high glycemic carbohydrates
2) increase healthy fibre in your diet
3) support bowel function with a multistrain probiotic or other bowel support that you can discuss with you naturopath or herbalist.
4) eliminate red meat

1) Avoid any iron supplementation (check supplements, especially any that are supposed to help with energy to make sure there is no iron)
2) take an optimal amount of zinc to help release excess iron in the system. (consult your herbalist or naturopath as to how much zinc is the optimal amount for you)

Giving blood

Giving blood at regular intervals can be ordered by your physician can help decrease the excess levels of ferritin in your system.

Excess iron in the system can create more free radical damage in the body and decrease cellular health, therefore it is important to have an antioxidant rich diet and supplementation program to assist with this issue and optimise your gut health when trying to address this issue.

And remember get your lipoprotein (a) (Lp (a) ) levels checked as well. If you could improve the issue with the **sp**erm and possibly improve your long term health by possibly decreasing heart attack and stroke risk, don't you think it's worth a look?

I hope you have a great week.

All the best