Doctor issues serious health warning about protein shakes – men should be mindful

Male infertility: Doctor discusses likely causes

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For many people, protein shakes are an essential part of the fitness toolkit. That’s because protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle, bone strength, and numerous body functions. Powdered forms of protein are often taken as a pre or post-workout. However, taking protein this way can present hidden health risks.

Men should be mindful of the ingredients included in any form of exercise supplements or protein shakes,” warned Dr Malini Uppal, medical director at GENNET City Fertility, a London-based fertility clinic.

According to Dr Uppal, some of these products contain steroids which can affect testosterone levels in the body.

This can have knock-on effects on sperm production and libido, he warned.

Undermining sperm production is risky because it makes conceiving harder.

The Mayo Clinic explains: “Too little sperm in an ejaculation might make it more difficult to get pregnant because there are fewer candidates available to fertilise the egg.”

What else should you avoid?

There are other aspects related to working out in the gym that can affect fertility.

“Regular lifting of heavy weights or excessive cycling can affect the total number of sperm, their quality and their shape,” warned Dr Uppal.

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As he explained, this is in relation to the heat produced when exercising and the weight exerted onto the testicle during these exercises.

“Men who are trying to conceive should consider either reducing the weight that they lift or the frequency in which they perform this exercise,” advised Dr Uppal.

General tips to keep fertility in working order

Stress is an unavoidable part of life but it is vital to control your stress levels for many reasons.

“Stress releases the cortisol hormone in our body which affects both our physiology and psychology,” explained Dr Uppal.

In reproductive science, cortisol can disrupt the normal hormonal pathways.”

In women, explained Dr Uppal, this can cease or delay ovulation and/or menstruation.

“So if you’re trying for a baby there may be no egg released for fertilisation,” he warned.

How you deal with stress can also have an indirect impact on fertility.

Dr Uppal explained: “It isn’t uncommon for our emotional health to intertwine with our nutrition.

“A poor diet, overeating or under-eating can always affect your menstrual cycle, cause anaemia, hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar – diabetes and heart disease precursor) and therefore affect fertility.”

Often the emphasis is on being overweight, however excessive weight loss can also cause anovulatory cycles (no ovulation), he explained.

He continued: “Weight gain or loss can also affect one’s self-confidence which can affect physical relationships and libido.”

Fertility is not an exact science and there are many different factors that can affect the reproductive systems in men and women.

“The above influences are not exhaustive and if you are struggling with conceiving or worried about your fertility you should speak to a fertility specialist for more advice,” advised Dr Uppal.

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