What is the Microbiome?
The human body does not only consist of human cells. Single-cell organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and archaea, that live in our bodies are called microbiota. The genetic material of these organisms is called the microbiome. The main functions of the microbiota, which mainly live in the intestines, are as follows:
- To help with digestion,
- To clean out the toxins in the intestines,
- To synthesize certain vitamins, such as vitamins B and K,
- To help androgen (testosterone) production,
- To support the immune system.
The microbiota are beneficial bacteria in the body. Modern life away from nature, decreased physical activity, and incorrect antibiotic use in recent years have decreased microbiota diversity and made our bodies vulnerable to diseases.
Is there a Relationship Between the Microbiome and Male Infertility?
Recent studies have shown a close relationship between the gut microbiome and infertility. A study revealed that there are differences between the gut microbiomes of healthy individuals and individuals who are affected by infertility. The bacteria in the gut affect chronic inflammation, which is closely related to both female and male reproductive organ health. Since the reproductive system and the intestine are close to each other, it is not surprising to hear that microbiome health affects fertility!
Infertility and microbiome studies have shown that microbiome-based treatments can improve damage to gut flora and pregnancy chances for women with infertility when fertile and infertile groups were compared.
Hormones will function in a healthy manner when there are beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome. The body will use the hormones at a sufficient level, and the unused hormones will be neutralized in the liver and discarded from the intestines. However, if the number of harmful bacteria in the gut increases, this process might be hindered or negatively affected. The hormones that should be discarded can be reactivated by harmful bacteria, and they might start to dominate the body. This causes hormonal imbalances. When the hormonal balance is disturbed, harmful oxidative stressors are triggered, which cause significant health problems, including infertility.
In the last 40 years, infertility has been twice as prevalent among men. Every year, the infertility rate increases by 1.4%. Around 11% of women of reproductive age are infertile. The decreases in fertility rates were first found during the Industrial Revolution and have continued until today. This shows that there is a close relationship between fertility and nutrition. Our nutritional habits have drastically changed from the Industrial Revolution until today. Fast food, fried foods, saturated fatty acids, and low-quality meat form our current nutritional model. The additives in food, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives cause risks for our health. Bad nutritional habits cause significant problems throughout the entire body, especially in gut health. This has caused gut microbiome diversity to decrease, which has inevitably negatively affected fertility. All these data further support the fact that the root of this problem is gut and intestinal health.
The Relationship Between Varicocele and Microbiome
Varicocele is the most common cause of male infertility, resulting from the dilatation of the veins in the testicle. Today, we know that varicocele causes male infertility due to the effects of increased oxidative stress and toxins on sperm cells. Therefore, certain antioxidant vitamin supplements and treatments for varicocele patients have aimed to correct sperm shape and motility. However, these treatments have failed to provide successful results.
This shows us the importance of a personalized approach to nutritional recommendations. As previously mentioned, our microbiota plays an important role in discarding toxins and decreasing oxidative stress. Therefore, varicocele, which is the most common reason for male infertility, should be treated with personal microbiome analyses and nutritional habits to regulate sperm motility and shape.
New Generation Nutritional Model: Microbiome Diet
Each bacterium in the gut requires special nutrition. Consuming appropriate foods according to the needs of the bacteria will significantly support the body’s health. As such, meal frequency and how much food an individual consumes are important. Scientific studies have shown that a personalized nutritional diet also has positive effects on sexual life.
The microbiome’s structure is specific to individuals and affects gut health, the immune system, hormonal balance, appetite control, and the correct usage of nutrients in the body. Understanding the metabolism and what the body needs, as well as identifying the appropriate nutrients, can help protect and improve sexual health.
Are there Clinics in our Country that Conduct Microbiome Analysis?
There are microbiome analysis systems in Turkey that use new-generation genetic diagnosis methods and artificial intelligence algorithms. By using these systems in our clinic, we can plan a suitable nutritional plan for you with our expert dietitians and help you lead a healthier sexual life.