Attention all potential daddies-to-be: If you’re trying to conceive, think twice before taking a testosterone supplement. Research points to a potential link between prescription testosterone supplement use and male infertility.
In one study, researchers at two treatment clinics examined the medical records of 1,500 men who sought treatment for infertility between 2005 and 2011. Seven percent of the men were taking a prescribed testosterone supplement. For most of the men who stopped taking testosterone during treatment, sperm counts bounced back dramatically – from 1.8 million sperm per milliliter, on average, to 34 million per milliliter. Though the study’s results aren’t conclusive, the researchers say they advise men to avoid the supplements until they’re done having children.
Millions of men frequently seek out prescription testosterone supplements every year in the hopes of bulking up, energizing their sex lives and looking younger. But in addition to infertility, the supplements come with the risk of side effects like male breast growth and blood clots.
Luckily though, there are ways you can increase your testosterone without the side effects of supplements:
- Hit the gym. A combination of strength and aerobic exercise has been shown to boost testosterone levels. (Need another reason to exercise? Look no further than your bank account.)
- Go easy on the sauce. Alcohol affects several reproductive hormones – one study found that a couple of drinks per day lowers testosterone by 7% – and it also decreases sperm levels.
- Take a chill pill. Being in a state of chronic stress causes your body to create fat deposits, which actually converts testosterone into estrogen. Work stress pushing you over the edge? Before Hulk-ing out, try these tips.
- Get quality shut-eye. Deep REM sleep is when your testosterone levels are highest, so DVR Conan and make sure to get those 7-8 hours every night.
Are you actively trying to have a baby? Try this Male Fertility Improvement Plan.