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Ditching Tight Pants ‘Improves Sperm Count’

If you’re a male looking to start a family, you may help it happen quicker if you wear looser underpants, according to a new study done at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. The loose bottoms help boost sperm concentration, possibly due to cooler temperatures around the testicles. Specifically, study participants who wore looser-fitting boxer shorts had a 17 percent higher total sperm count and 33 percent more swimming sperm than men with tight-fitting underwear, BBC said.

When you consider that male infertility worldwide is skyrocketing, every little bit of knowledge we can get on how to boost fertility helps, especially when it’s something as simple as changing how your underwear fits. From the statistics angle, sperm counts around the world have declined by more than 50 percent, and it’s believed that endocrine-disrupting chemicals have undoubtedly contributed to this dramatic decline.

So how do men end up with endocrine-disrupting chemicals in their bodies? One mode is through the foods we eat and beverages we drink, including the water coming right out of your tap. Thanks to the pernicious use of endocrine disrupting chemicals in plastics, personal care products and herbicides such as glyphosate (which is a very common contaminant in nonorganic foods), we are all exposed to these chemicals on a daily basis.

This is concerning because endocrine-disrupting chemicals specifically alter the normal function of your hormones. A hormone's job is to interact with the cells in your body, sending signals that instruct them to perform certain tasks, and endocrine disrupting chemicals interfere with this communication process. In 2013, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) identified 12 of the most troublesome hormone wreckers.

From Bisphenol-A to dioxins, fire retardants, perfluorinated chemicals, organophosate pesticides and phthalates, endocrine disrupting chemicals are high on the list of sperm killers. On the flip side, researchers found that men who are physically active with moderate exercise may help to improve sperm quality.

For a list of some of the most surprising sources of these hormone wreckers, please see my article, "10 Sources of Endocrine Disruptors and How to Avoid Them." Hint: I think you’ll look at your cash register receipts, cleaning products and the foods you choose to eat in a whole different light once you see this list.

In the meantime, making sure to avoid processed foods of all kinds, to eat only grass fed meats, to never eat or drink from plastic products, and to filter your tap water both at the tap and at the point it enters your house will help reduce your exposure, too.
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