Demanding work improves male fertility

Demanding work improves male fertility

Various ideas for increasing human fertility have been proposed over time. Limit stress. Eat a healthy diet and manage your weight. Avoid alcohol and cigarettes. Take multivitamins.

Here’s another one, applicable to men:

Get a physically demanding job, especially one requiring the habitual lifting of heavy objects.

That finding comes from a study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. They found that men in these labor-intensive jobs not only boosted their muscles, they boosted their sperm count, too.

Scientists say they already knew that exercise was beneficial to fertility. But few investigations looked at the sort of jobs that might best help us procreate.

And many men need the help. One study estimated that male fertility dropped by 42% in the last two decades among those seeking treatment.

Researchers focused on a group of 377 couples with a male partner seeking treatment at a fertility center. A wide array of information on their lifestyle and health was gathered.

The study found those with jobs requiring heavy-lifting had a 46% higher sperm concentration and 44% higher sperm count. That is compared with men who worked at less physically demanding jobs, like those in an office. They also tended to have more testosterone and, oddly, more of the female hormone estrogen.

Scientists note that more study is needed to see if these results hold up in the general population.

Doctors know there are many causes for infertility, and a job with heavy-lifting shouldn’t be viewed as a cure. But perhaps the gym is a good idea for those of us tied to a desk all day.

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