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Male Infertility and Lifestyle Factors: The Functional Medicine Toronto View


As our functional medicine Toronto clinic discussed in “5 Ways to Prevent Male Infertility”, fertility issues are on the rise. This is discerning enough for the World Health Organization to recognize it as a global health issue.

In particular, various aspects of lifestyle, such as consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, eating processed foods, and using cell phones in our daily lives, have been linked to diminished chances of conception. 

For some men, removing harmful lifestyle factors can improve fertility outcomes. But for others, certain exposures (i.e. nicotine) have already caused health concerns, including oxidative stress, poor sperm quality, and hormone imbalances. Thus, the integrative functional medicine approach could help fertility by promoting optimal health. 

In this post, the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre discusses factors that could influence your chances for conception. We also discuss suitable treatments for male infertility and how we create a comprehensive treatment plan. 

Suggested Reading: Understanding Fibromyalgia, its Symptoms and Possible Causes: The Functional Medicine Toronto Approach

Potential triggers behind male reproductive issues

Male infertility may be triggered by a range of personal factors, and these include lifestyle choices. Here are some lifestyle factors that can reduce male fertility: 

  • Smoking: Numerous articles from medical journals have said that tobacco and nicotine can cause male infertility, lowering semen volume, count and motility. “This effect might be due to oxidative stress produced by smoking, which has devastating effects on semen parameters, thus reducing male fertility,” explains a Frontiers in Physiology article. 
  • Obesity: For many men, weight management matters, especially since the Western diet has lowered in quality over the last five decades. This may be one of the causes behind low semen quality and diminishing testosterone levels. One study on Danish males who consumed processed, Western food had inferior sperm counts compared to those who ate vegetarian-like diets. 
  • Alcohol: Long-term health studies have shown that excessive alcohol intake can influence a low production of sperm and testosterone levels, a subdued release of gonadotropin, and testicular atrophy. Heavy alcohol drinking can also cause sexual and ejaculatory issues, which can prevent intercourse from happening. 
  • Caffeine: Moderate amounts of coffee could help reduce your risks for heart disease. But excessive caffeine use might hinder fertility, triggering sperm DNA damage. “Available evidence indicates that semen samples containing a percentage of DNA fragmented cells above a critical threshold have a reduced level of pregnancy success,” explains a study from Nutrition Journal
  • Mobile technology: As per Austrian and Canadian researchers, cell phone use may reduce the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) in men, which is needed for effective reproduction. Scientists postulate that electromagnetic waves from cell phones may negatively affect both male hormones and fertility outcomes. 
  • Recreational substances: The increased use of substances, including opiates, can impact family planning. According to a Brain Sciences review, opioids may intermingle with specific receptors found in the testes; this can hinder the antioxidant defense system in men, potentially causing free radicals to disturb fertility. If you’re taking any related substances, please speak to your functional medicine practitioner about detoxification for optimizing wellness to improve fertility. 

Lifestyle modifications and treatments for male infertility

At the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre, we take a well-rounded approach to fertility issues. A thorough discussion during your first session will occur, which would consider your current lifestyle and environmental factors, medical history, individual symptoms, etc. Functional medicine testing may be advised for measuring hormonal health, toxins, and nutritional deficiencies. After gathering this information, we customize a distinctive health care plan for your health goals. The following chart features some treatments* that might be recommended. When combined with a balanced diet and exercise, they could assist with improving male fertility: 

*These may not apply to every patient for fertility purposes; treatments are designed according to your comprehensive health history, current biology, and personal health goals (integrative functional medicine principles)

Health Strategy


Lifestyle changes

If your body is bombarded with oxidative stress, you can be guided on how to quit smoking, refrain from using certain substances, etc. Organic, non-processed foods may be consumed to improve your nutritional status and lose weight. The Mediterranean Diet, for example, has been shown to help recharge male fertility by promoting detoxification.  

IV therapy (Intravenous therapy) 

IV therapy drips can assist the body with detoxification (heavy metal chelation); free radicals may be removed using IV glutathione drips. It can also  help alleviate nutritional deficiencies from a poor diet,  boosting your intake of nutrients for aiding sperm quality and motility; selenium and vitamin C are some examples of drips we may add to your IV drip.

Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy

If your DUTCH test results show a lack of reproductive hormones, this treatment may help with alleviating hormone imbalances. 

About our integrative functional medicine approach 

Customized clinical therapies can impact your fertility journey. We collaborate with patients at the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre to devise personal treatment plans; in turn, this can motivate you to reach optimal health.   

Our functional medicine providers educate you on preventing infertility and chronic disease through nutrition and integrative medicine. The integrative approach amalgamates modalities to manage symptoms, while tackling the root of your health concerns. As a new patient of ours, you may discover other modalities, such as herbal medicines, naturopathic medicine, allopathic/Western medicine, Chinese medicine/acupuncture, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, and more.  

Intravenous therapy is in our exclusive IV Lounge. We take a personalized approach to blending IV therapy drips, which are created using integrative functional medicine principles. We offer essential nutrients for IV therapy, as an additional support for a wide range of health needs (i.e. high-dose vitamin C, glutathione, major antioxidants, heavy metal chelation, amino acids, NAD+, etc.) IV nutrient therapy can be tailored as adjunct support for different concerns, including sleep issues, digestive health, nutritional deficiencies driven by intestinal inflammation (Celiac disease and Crohn’s), brain function, chronic health issues, and other matters.

Do you need help jump-starting a healthy lifestyle? Take control of your wellness with IV therapy, clinical nutrition and functional medicine from Toronto. Click here to request your appointment or to send us your inquiries.  

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. Consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.


Balawender K, Orkisz S. The impact of selected modifiable lifestyle factors on male fertility in the modern world. Cent European J Urol. 2020;73(4):563-568. doi:10.5173/ceju.2020.1975

Grover S, Mattoo SK, Pendharkar S, Kandappan V. Sexual dysfunction in patients with alcohol and opioid dependence. Indian J Psychol Med. 2014;36:355–365. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.140699.

Krzastek SC, Farhi J, Gray M, Smith RP. Impact of environmental toxin exposure on male fertility potential. Transl Androl Urol. 2020;9(6):2797-2813. doi:10.21037/tau-20-685

Kumar M, Zilate S, Gupta C. Effect of Stress and Caffeine on Male Infertility. Cureus. 2022;14(8):e28487. Published 2022 Aug 27. doi:10.7759/cureus.28487

Montano L, Maugeri A, Volpe MG, Micali S, Mirone V, Mantovani A, Navarra M, Piscopo M. Mediterranean Diet as a Shield against Male Infertility and Cancer Risk Induced by Environmental Pollutants: A Focus on Flavonoids. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jan 29;23(3):1568. doi: 10.3390/ijms23031568. PMID: 35163492; PMCID: PMC8836239.

Nassan FL, Jensen TK, Priskorn L, et al. Association of Dietary Patterns with Testicular Function in Young Danish Men. JAMA Netw Open 2020;3:e1921610. 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.21610

Queen’s University. “Cell phone use may reduce male fertility, Austrian-Canadian study suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2011. <>.

Rehman R, Zahid N, Amjad S, Baig M and Gazzaz ZJ (2019) Relationship Between Smoking Habit and Sperm Parameters Among Patients Attending an Infertility Clinic. Front. Physiol. 10:1356. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.01356

Ricci E, Viganò P, Cipriani S, et al. Coffee and caffeine intake and male infertility: a systematic review. Nutr J. 2017;16(1):37. Published 2017 Jun 24. doi:10.1186/s12937-017-0257-2

Schifano N, Chiappini S, Mosca A, Miuli A, Santovito MC, Pettorruso M, Capogrosso P, Dehò F, Martinotti G, Schifano F. Recreational Drug Misuse and Its Potential Contribution to Male Fertility Levels’ Decline: A Narrative Review. Brain Sciences. 2022; 12(11):1582.

Van Heertum K, Rossi B. Alcohol and fertility: how much is too much?. Fertil Res Pract. 2017;3:10. Published 2017 Jul 10. doi:10.1186/s40738-017-0037-x


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