5 Easy Changes to Protect Your Sperm from Harmful Chemicals
Keep your swimmers safe with these science-based tips
Hey, guys, yeah all you sperm producing humans out there. Hate to break it to you, but when it comes to different chemicals in our world, your little swimmers might not be as safe as you think. While it's true that you continually are creating new sperm, if you are exposed to some of these nasty things on a regular basis, chances are high that they are affecting both the quality and quantity of your sperm. Even if you aren't planning to have a kid right now, these things could make it harder for you to conceive a kid in the future and research has linked sperm health to overall health. But, hang tight. We have some super simple suggestions for ways to change up your routine that can protect your sperm for years to come.
1) Go Organic
In general, choosing organic when you can is smart because pesticides are pretty bad. But, there is a bunch of research showing that pesticides are especially harsh to sperm (1). Various types of pesticides can decrease both sperm quality and quantity. So, yeah, organic kinda matters and your sperm aren't safe from the pesticides (2). Because we get that going organic for everything is probably not feasible, some other easy ways to avoid pesticides are to take your shoes off at the door so you aren't bringing them into your house on your shoes, and to prioritize organic for fruits and veggies without thick skins or peels that you remove.
2) Clean Your House
Okay, this is just good for you in general. But, when it comes to your sperm, they are pretty sensitive. Not just to things like temperature, but also to various chemicals and metals that end up in the dust that just happens all over your house (and everyone else's too - it's not just you). Things like lead and flame retardants are really good at sticking to dust particles and hanging out around your house (4). That dust can be on everything from your couch to your laptop to your coffee table, basically anything. And, when you touch that dust then do something like, say, eat a snack, that dust can get into your body, which is how it harms your sperm. So, while it's not super fun, just clean your apartment. We suggest vacuuming and wiping down surfaces with a wet microfiber cloth at a minimum. But you know, if you are having people over, you might also want to pick up the dirty clothes and clean the bathroom.
3) Ditch plastic in your kitchen (wherever you can)
Two easy ways to lessen the amount of plastic in your life that will make a huge difference for sperm health are to find a new water bottle and get some glass food storage containers. These are items you probably use daily, so swapping them out can make a big difference. Ditching the plastic is because most plastic either contains BPA (or some other type of bisphenol chemical just like BPA) to make it hard and clear or phthalates to make it flexible. Both of these chemicals, which are added to all sorts of plastic-like things can mess with your hormones, and therefore your mess with the quality of your sperm (5, 7) . In some cases it changes the DNA in your sperm (6), in other cases it changes how many sperm you produce (5). So, if you want lots of happy sperm, it might be worth cutting plastic when you can.
4) Use Cold Water When You Cook (even if that just means making ramen)
No matter what cooking means for you, chances are something in your repertoire requires cooking food with boiling water. Right? We totally get that starting with hot water from the tap just makes sense and seems like it will speed up the time from ingredients to dinner, but you should really be using water from the cold tap whenever you cook (check out this article for tips to getting hot water just as fast without using the hot tap). Why? Because hot water makes it way easier for different chemicals and metals in the pipes to get into the water. Not having lead in your food, which for sure messes up your sperm (10, 11), is totally worth it.
5) Keep Your Phone in Your Back Pocket or Bag
Does keeping your phone in your pocket right next to your family jewels affect your sperm, you ask. Short answer, according to science, probably yeah (8, 9). Studies have found that the radiation from a phone can cause sperm to be less mobile and undergo changes to the DNA (8). So, we suggest keeping your phone in your bag when you can. If you aren't taking a backpack, it's better to keep it in your back pocket. And maybe don't sleep with it on the bed. Basically, the further away the better. That way the radiation your phone emits won't mess with your sperm's ability to swim.
While these tips are probably more important if you and your SO are thinking about or trying to get pregnant, they all help you live a healthier life in other ways, too. Many of these toxics, like lead, pesticides, and chemicals in plastics also affect your health in other ways like reducing your cognitive function, messing with hormone levels, causing cancer, and increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease, to name a few. So, yes, do these things if you want to have a kid, but also do them just because they will make your life a little healthier.