Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fat Men & Infertility

Fat guys have fertility problems.

Morbid obesity is a problem for men and women because fat secretes estrogen. That is why the little pooch a post-menopausal woman has is called the "third ovary". Men with belly fat, essentially grow an ovary. Where that can be helpful for a post-menopausal woman, the estrogen interferes with testosterone, and thus sperm production, in men.

Researchers found that men’s BMI was an independent risk factor for infertility. The researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect fertility, including high BMI of the woman, age, cigarette smoking, alcohol intake, and solvent and pesticide exposure. After adjustment, there was a general increase in infertility with increased BMI, reaching a nearly 2-fold increase among obese men.

When researchers divided the sample into two equal groups by men’s age, they found that men’s BMI was a risk factor for infertility in both the older and younger men.

The researchers did not have data on frequency of sexual intercourse, so it is possible that overweight men have less sexual intercourse than their normal weight counterparts and this could influence fertility. However, there have been recent studies looking at semen characteristics that show lower semen quality for overweight and obese men, as well as hormonal differences.

I'm also wondering, since the study was conducted on farmers, about repetitive stress from sitting on tractors all day. What used to be an active profession, has become less so with airconditioned combines.

Another problem with being fat--less energy for sex. It becomes a degenerating cycle: people feel bad about themselves because they're fat, they get depressed and embarressed, they don't have sex, which makes them feel more depressed, they eat more, and they get fatter.

The solution is actually very simple: take a 30 minute walk five days a week. No need to kill oneself. It ups the endorphins (feel good hormones), ups the testosterone (also tied to a more positive outlook, less depression, better muscle mass) and gets the blood flowing to everywhere. Your brain (the main sex organ anyway) gets infused with blood. The extremities do, too--all of them. Better sleep means reactive eating. Better sleep means more alert mentition, more engagement. Better sleep means less fatigue at the end of the day which can translate into more sex, which can translate into more babies.

As an aside, Vitamin C and Zinc, support hardy sperm production. Take 1-2 gms/day of Vitamin C and 15 mg of chelated Zinc. This helps, too.


Sharon said...

And all along, I just thought the fat guys weren't fathering too many kids because they have trouble finding eager women. Guess I've got more to learn than I thought! ;)

Anonymous said...

This may be far-fetched...but if belly fat produces estrogen, then I wonder if the epidemic of obesity could have something to do with the epidemic of feminized/neutered men.

Dr. Melissa said...

Ha! If you saw how many good ole Texas boys sport a spare tire, your theory would go out the window. They view themselves as neither feminized, nor neutered thank you very much. That gut is bought and paid for!

Now, that's not sayin' anything about man-boobs. They don't like talkin' 'bout that.