Physically hard work is associated with higher male fertility
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A new study from Harvard Medical School at Brigham and Women's Hospital found that men who regularly lift heavy objects at work have higher sperm counts.
The study, published in Human Reproduction, is part of the Environment and Reproductive Health Program, a clinical study to investigate how environmental chemicals and lifestyle affect reproductive health.
“We already know that exercise is associated with numerous health benefits, including reproductive health, but several studies have examined how occupational factors may contribute to these benefits,” — said study author Lydia Minges-Alarcón, assistant professor of HMS medicine at Brigham and Women's EARTH ISO researcher.
with a significant improvement in the reproductive potential of men”, — she said.
Infertility — it is a growing problem that can be caused by a number of complex factors. However, about 40 percent of infertility cases can be attributed to male factors such as sperm count, sperm quality and sexual dysfunction.
In particular, sperm count and sperm quality are thought to be major contributors to the rise in male infertility rates: a previous analysis by the EARTH research team found that among men seeking fertility treatment, sperm count and quality decreased by as much as 42 percent between 2000 to 2017.
“Furthermore, there is mounting evidence that male infertility is associated with common chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and autoimmune disease, highlighting the wider importance of male reproductive health. health", — Minges-Alarcón said.
EARTH collected samples and interview data from more than 1,500 men and women, and the current study focused on a subset of these participants, including 377 male partners in couples seeking treatment at a fertility treatment center.
The researchers found, that men who frequently lifted or moved heavy objects at work had a 46% higher sperm concentration and a 44% higher total sperm count compared to those who did not engage in physical labor.
Men who reported more physical activity at work also had higher levels of the male sex hormone testosterone and, paradoxically, the female hormone estrogen.
“Contrary to what some people remember from the lessons biology, "male" and "women" hormones are present in the body in both sexes, but in different amounts. In this case, we assume that excess testosterone is converted to estrogen, which is a known way of maintaining normal levels of both hormones in the body,” — said Minges-Alarcón, who is also a senior fellow at the Harvard Chan School.
Although the current study has found an association between physical activity and fertility in men seeking fertility treatment, further research will be needed to confirm whether these are true. results for men in the general population. The researchers also hope that future studies will uncover the underlying biological mechanisms.
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