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In the treatment of infertility in men, the two primary concerns are sperm count and sperm quality. While medical intervention is sometimes necessary, there is a great deal men can do to treat infertility naturally on their own. Increasing sperm count and sperm quality does not begin below the belt. It begins, literally and physically, in the brain. Every 70 to 90 minutes of every day the hypothalamus, a gland in the brain, sends a pulse of gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) to another gland in the brain known as the pituitary. The pituitary in turn sends follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) to the testes, where the hormone stimulates the maturation of long stalks known as follicles which eventually release hormone.

Because the trigger to produce sperm originates in the brain, simple practices that enhance brain health also enhance male fertility. When men get more sleep, for instance, the hypothalamus releases more of the GnRH that triggers the release of FSH. Getting more sleep can actually be more useful than getting testosterone injections, because high testosterone levels actually shut down the production of GnRH. It also helps to sleep in the dark, without a light or night light on. What could sleeping in the dark have to do with male fertility? It's not about the relationship of darkness (or light) to the frequency of sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse, after all, has to be timed to the woman's optimum fertility for pregnancy to be achieved. The important of sleeping in a totally dark room to a man's fertility is that the brain can only make melatonin, the sleep hormone, when the eyes do not receive even the slightest amount of blue light. Even the amount of light a man can see with his eyes shut is enough to interrupt the production of melatonin.

A study reported in the journal Andrology, however, found that men who take supplemental melatonin before going to bed enjoy increased sperm count and sperm quality. As little as 1 mg is enough, and melatonin should only be taken before going to bed. Sometimes male infertility can be corrected by taking label-directed doses of the B vitamin folic acid (folate) and L-carnitine, plus about 60 mg of a zinc supplement every day. Danish studies have found that infertile men who don't suffer deficiencies of these nutrients sometimes gain enough added sperm count to become fathers when they supplement. Any man who does not have azoospermia, that is, who has a low but non-zero sperm count, of course, can increase the number of sperm per ejaculation by refraining from ejaculation for 1 to 4 days before having intercourse with the intent of conceiving a child. At least 1 day is necessary to make a difference, but abstaining from intercourse or ejaculation for more than 4 days will not further increase sperm count for timed intercourse done while trying to conceive.

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