By Dr. Don Davis
Infertility is an increasing problem, and the male’s side of the equation is estimated to be 40-50% of that problem.
Unfortunately, in most of these cases the cause remains unknown, so a study recently that sheds light on this is welcome news. Interestingly, the gut and the bacteria that live there seem to be the culprit. In this study, it was found that the bacterial composition of the semen can affect infertility. And where did the bacteria come from? The gut! Not only that, the testing actually found the same bacteria and the same proportions.
The researchers took 96 semen samples and found that the type of bacteria residing there was related to semen health factors like semen volume, sperm concentration, motility, antisperm antibody (IgA) and leukocytes (white blood cells).
You see. in normal semen, Lactobacillus and Gardnerella were the predominant species but in the infertile men, Prevotella and Pseudomonas were the most numerous. This is a big deal because as the authors noted:
“Lactobacillus might not only be a potential probiotic for semen quality maintenance, but also might be helpful in countering the negative influence of Prevotella and Pseudomonas bacteria.”
Well first of all, we can see by this research that the gut bacteria can affect the quality of the semen in a significant way. Further, a healthy and balanced population of bacteria in the gut are an absolute requirement to healthy semen.
Second, it is possible to improve the bacterial balance in the gut by using PRO-biotics containing Lactobacillus. This helps temporarily but it is important to realize that continued maintenance of the gut bacteria and Lactobacillus, requires pre-biotics in either food or in supplement form. I’ve found that PRE-biotics have a much bigger impact on IBS than PRO-biotics.
Dr. Don Davis, D.C., DACNB-Neurology
Weng SL, et al. PLoS One. 2014 Oct 23;9(10):e110152. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110152.