Defective Sperm Is One of the Most Common Causes of Male Infertility.
Oxidative stress is known to be a major contributory factor to defective sperm leading to infertility.
Oxidative stress is the result of an imbalance between the reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidants in the body which leads to cell and tissue damage, sperm damage, deformity & male infertility.
A natural process, Oxidative stress plays a significant role in aging. Free radicals are produced by cells of the body during normal metabolic processes.
But these cells also produce antioxidants that neutralize these free radicals. Generally, the body can maintain a balance between antioxidants and free radicals.
Oxidative stress occurs when the production of potentially destructive reactive oxygen species (ROS) exceeds the body’s own natural antioxidant defenses causing cellular damage. Oxidative stress manifests when oxidants overwhelm the antioxidant defense system in cells.
The excess oxidants contribute to specific and non-specific reactions with nearby cellular components such as unsaturated lipids, proteins, and DNA, consequently impairing normal cellular processes.
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The factors contributing to oxidative stress and excess free radical production include Diet, Lifestyle, Environmental factors such as pollution and radiation.
The body’s natural immune reaction also can trigger temporary oxidative stress causing mild inflammation sometimes which matches away because the system fights off an infection or recovers from an injury.
Uncontrolled oxidative stress speeds up aging and may lead to the development of several conditions.
Scientific evidence suggests that long-term oxidative stress is the cause of many conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
It is a common pathology seen in almost half of all infertile men. ROS (Including Oxygen Ions), free radicals, and peroxides generated by sperm and seminal leukocytes within semen produce infertility by two key mechanisms.
First damaging the sperm membrane to decrease sperm motility and its ability to fuse with the oocyte. Secondly, ROS alters the sperm DNA, passing defective paternal DNA onto the concepts
There are three ways to test the presence of oxidative stress
(1) Direct measurement of the ROS
(2) Measurement of the resulting damage to biomolecules
(3) Detection of antioxidant levels.
Management and Prevention
It might be impossible to totally avoid free radical exposure and oxidative stress. However, its effect can be minimized mainly by increasing the antioxidants and decreasing the formation of the free radicals.
Five servings per day of a variety of fruits and vegetables are recommended to provide your body with antioxidants.
They may include Berries, Cherries, Citrus fruits, Prunes, Dark leafy greens, Broccoli, Carrots, Tomatoes, and Olives, etc
Dietary antioxidants are also found in Fish and Nuts, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Turmeric, Green tea, Melatonin, Onion, Garlic, Cinnamon.
Lifestyle Modification and Exercise
Lifestyle choices can help to prevent or reduce oxidative stress. Regular exercise has been known to provide higher natural antioxidant levels and decreased levels of oxidative stress
. It also promotes a longer lifespan, decreases the effects of aging and the risk of cancer and disease.
Smoking & Alcohol
Quit Smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke as well. Decrease your alcohol intake or stop it completely.
An experienced infertility specialist can help you manage Oxidative Stress with help of Vitamins and Supplements while guiding you to appropriate lifestyle management.
Be careful with chemicals including cleaning chemicals, pesticides, etc. Avoid unnecessary radiation exposure. Maintaining equilibrium in all physiological systems, such as brain function, hormone synthesis, antioxidant, and free radical balance, and many other things requires a good sleeping schedule.
Compulsive overeating keeps your body in a state of oxidative stress. Eat small or moderate portions at appropriately spaced intervals.
Free radicals and antioxidants are part of your body’s natural and healthy functioning but their imbalance can trigger oxidative stress leading to how to increase sperm quality and also causing damage to many of your tissues.
While exposure to free radicals cannot be avoided totally, lifestyle choices regarding diet, exercise, and appropriate environment help keep your body in balance and prevent damage and disease.
Dr. Shivani Bhutani is an infertility specialist who has treated many patients with Oxidative stress and infertility. To book an appointment