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Intense Exercise Can Harm Sperm Morphology

Regular, moderate exercise can improve male fertility and overall health but too much intensive endurance exercise may do more harm than good if you are trying to conceive according to a 2011 study presented at the ASRM conference.

When exercise is intense and frequent it can increase levels of oxidative stress within the body which can damage sperm, particularly sperm morphology or shape. Fortunately, a specific antioxidant seems to help reduce exercise-induced sperm damage and may be worth considering if you cannot moderate your exercise regime.

A Spanish study on fifty mice studied both the effects of intensive endurance exercise on sperm and measured the effectiveness of antioxidant - trans-resveratrol - to restore sperm health. The mice endured intensive exercise with - and without - resveratrol and the changes to sperm morphology were measured while a control group had no exercise.

At the end of the study, mice which exercised without resveratrol protection had a significant 24% reduction in normally shaped sperm while the control group and the resveratrol protected group had similarly good numbers of normally shaped sperm (64.8% and 69.4% normal sperm). Resveratrol performed outstandingly.

If you are trying to conceive - and the male partner works out intensively - a good resveratrol supplement may help protect against oxidative damage to sperm and reduce the need for IUI (intra-uterine insemination) and costly ICSI.
Previous studies have shown that a moderate amount of exercise is protective against sperm motility problems so it is important to exercise - just not too much unless you add in some antioxidant protection.

Would you like articles like this delivered to your email? Sign-up for the Bellaonline newsletter, the link is below. This article is not intended to diagnose, prescribe medical treatment or otherwise replace medical or nutritional advice for which you should consult a physician or dietitian.

Preliminary Results of Trans-Resveratrol as an Effective Protector Against Exercise-Induced Morphology Abnormalities on Mice Sperm
Vaamonde et al.
Antioxidants May Protect Against Exercise-Induced Sperm Damage, October 18 , 2011, by: ASRM Office of Public Affairs, Published in ASRM Press Release. Presenting at the 67th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Orlando, Florida

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