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Can Stress And Caffeine Adversely Affect Male Fertility?

A recent DMIMS School of Epidemiology and Public Health study points out caffeine and stress can cause male infertility [1]. It appears that drinking coffee may damage the DNA of sperm, possibly preventing a man from conceiving. However, this conclusion should be viewed with caution, the researchers added.

Stress, Caffeine And Male Infertility: What Is The Link?

It is estimated that nearly one out of seven couples are infertile, which means they have not been able to conceive despite having frequent, unprotected sexual relations.

Infertility in men may result from low sperm production, abnormal sperm function, or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm. Illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems, lifestyle choices, and other factors may contribute to infertility in men.

Fertility problems can be caused by a number of different medical conditions and other factors, and each individual case may have a single cause, a number of causes, or-in some cases-no cause at all [2][3].

The study findings are as follows:

Caffeine and male infertility

  • Caffeine-containing beverages, such as coffee and soda, contain 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine, which is rapidly dispersed throughout the body through saliva [4].
  • In humans, caffeine is readily absorbed, with a bioavailability of approximately 100 per cent when given orally and a peak blood concentration occurring 15 to 45 minutes after ingestion [5].
  • Both favourable and adverse effects of caffeine have been documented, including stimulation of the central nervous system, the elevation of catecholamine secretion, relaxation of muscle tissue, and stimulation of vital signs.
  • Excessive consumption may adversely affect health, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and neurological disorders. A moderate level of consumption may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes as well as abnormal glucose and lipid metabolism.
  • The consumption of coffee or caffeine by men has been linked to elevated testosterone levels and the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) in the blood [6].
  • Caffeine may alter the glycolytic and oxidative properties of the Sertoli cells, which may impair a male's reproductive ability. However, the mechanisms by which caffeine might work are unknown.

Stress and male infertility:

  • Studies have shown that the quality of sperm in men seeking treatment for infertility and in men in the general population decreases during treatment. However, these studies cannot pinpoint whether anxiety is the cause or effect of the decrease [7].
  • It is possible for male impotence diagnoses, appointments, and failed IVF treatments to increase stress levels. According to some studies, being assertive or aggressive in response to stress can adversely affect fertility, as it increases adrenergic activity, which increases blood vessel constriction in the testes [8].
  • It was found that perceived stress negatively correlated with sperm concentration, motility, and the percentage of morphologically normal spermatozoa.

On A Final Note...

Researchers examined infertility in men in conjunction with stress, coffee or caffeine use, and other lifestyle factors. Most studies have shown that drinking coffee, tea, or cocoa drinks with caffeine does not change sperm parameters. Conversely, some studies have shown that cola drinks and soft drinks with caffeine negatively affect sperm count, concentration, and volume.

According to the researchers, future research should attempt to scientifically quantify the effects of stress and determine whether early counselling focused on reducing stress levels would improve sperm quality.

Story first published: Wednesday, September 14, 2022, 18:42 [IST]
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