Phytoestrogens are substances found in plants that serve as a line of defense and they have a role in cell-to-cell communication. Phytoestrogens can be found in soybeans, flax seeds, sesame seeds, oats, barley, etc.

These compounds gained attention in the public arena due to their ability to imitate the effect of oestrogen once ingested by humans. Studies show a connection between phytoestrogens and female fertility, proving that these substances have a significant negative impact on female reproductive health. But what effect, if any, do they have on male reproduction?

The first insights into the effects of phytoestrogens on fertility showed up in the 1940’s amongst Australian sheep farmers. The sheep that grazed clover, showed a higher percentage of infertility. This encouraged many researchers to look into this issue and many studies confirmed this connection with infertility.

There are numerous studies that have been done on mammals proving that if an organism is exposed to phytoestrogens, the fertility can be drastically reduced. The increase of soy and soy-based products in our everyday nutrition seems to be having a drastic effect on male fertility – sperm counts worldwide have been decreasing significantly in the last few decades. Some data suggests that this decrease could be up to 50% compared to 1930’s.

Not only phytoestrogens are there to blame – many compounds from our surroundings can act as oestrogen-mimicking substances causing damage to the reproductive system. These substances include genistein, enterodiol, dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), bisphenol A, diethylstilbestrol (DES), etc. They can be found in pesticides, plants that we have mentioned above, some pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, etc. This oestrogen-mimicking effect can cause low semen concentration, poor semen quality, lack of sperm motility and even a decreased libido. These effects usually disappear after the sources of oestrogen-mimicking substances are removed. However, if the male fetus is exposed to high levels of these substances during the sensitive period of sexual development, the consequences may be permanent and much more serious.

If you are trying to conceive, you should avoid excessive exposure to oestrogen-mimicking substances. Avoid eating foods high in phytoestrogens such as soybeans and protect yourself from environmental pollutants. If your sperm parameters need a boost, Androferti can increase your sperm’s mobility, improve sperm quality and highly increase the chances for pregnancy.

Photo credit: Andrea_Nguyen / Foter / CC BY