Why Sperm Count Have Dropped by 60 Percent!

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 01/13/2024

From 1973 to 2011, averaged sperm counts dropped by 60%, even in young men! Today, we’re going to talk about the cause of this mysterious down-trending.

The short version? It’s hard to know exactly what’s behind this precipitous drop, but there are six factors that could certainly have a huge impact on lowering testosterone, in reducing sperm count, and in reducing sperm motility.

In this article, we will discuss those six factors:

  1. Phthalates

  2. Estrogen

  3. Fat Storing Hormone resistance

  4. Statins

  5. GMO food

  6. Soy

Let’s get to it.


1. Phthalates

Look for phthalate-free plastic products

Phthalates are a group of chemicals - DBP, BBP, DEHP, DINP, DnOP, and DIDP, to name a few - that are used primarily to make plastic flexible and harder to break.

We’re obviously exposed to phthalates from using plastic containers and water bottles - as well as from certain activities, like microwaving things in plastic containers. To a certain extent, this exposure is unavoidable, since there is essentially plastic everywhere: in cosmetics, food, medical supplies, toys, and household goods, to name a few.

But how bad are these phthalates? Well, most health effects on humans are officially unknown according to the CDC (largely because most studies have been conducted on animals, not people), but many researchers are studying things like:

  • The link between phthalates and the surging rate of chronic disease

  • Affects on certain populations, like women who use many personal care products and adolescents.

  • Their link to cancer

  • Etc.

There is also research that shows that DiDP, in particular, can cause redness, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting, while DINP was officially added to California’s list of carcinogens.

When it comes to sperm count, it’s important to know that this plastic is bioaccumulative, meaning that it can build up in the tissues. It’s also anti-androgenic, and it has a significant impact on lowering your sperm counts and your testosterone.

Again, this will never be completely unavoidable, but you can limit your exposure to phthalates by:

  • Whenever possible, choosing products labeled as “phthalate-free”

  • Using “microwave-safe” containers and plastic wrap

  • Avoiding fast food, which research shows to be a source of exposure

  • Asking for phthalate-free medical devices if you’re on some kind of treatment


2. Estrogen

There are many symptoms that come with elevated estrogen in men. They can include:

  • Infertility

  • Gynecomastia, or increased breast tissue

  • Erectile dysfunction (ED)

  • Slow growth

  • Epiphysial closure, which can cause slow stature

  • Reduced sex drive

  • Exhaustion

  • Hair loss

  • Shrinking muscle mass

  • reduced growth of penis and testicles

  • loss of bone density, or osteoporosis

  • Hot flashes

  • Trouble focusing

If a guy has too much estrogen, it’s also going to lower testosterone and lead to a decline in sperm count. In fact, estrogen can both lowers sperm production and makes it harder for men to create healthy sperm.

Now, the more fat someone has, the more estrogen they’re going to make. This is because fat - through the help of an enzyme called aromatase - is going to turn testosterone into estrogen.

So, how do men get excess estrogen? Well, exposure to estrogen from chemicals in the environment - or endocrine disruptors - can mimic estrogen.

These disruptors can be found in pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides often found on produce. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you consume organic, chemical-free food.


3. Fat Storing Hormone Resistance

High levels of Fat Storing Hormone, which occur when you have Fat Storing Hormone resistance, will lower your testosterone.

Fat Storing Hormone resistance is probably a really big cause of low sperm count today because Fat Storing Hormone resistance has been getting worse over the last 40 years.

Why? The Standard American Diet.

See, Fat Storing Hormone is a hormone that’s released in the body when you consume sugar. Its purpose is to lower that blood sugar and keep you feeling good and healthy. The problem, though, is that the average American consumes more than 30 times more sugar than they should each and every day - so the body releases too much Fat Storing Hormone all the time.

Eventually, the cells get overwhelmed and they stop letting that Fat Storing Hormone in. This is Fat Storing Hormone resistance, and it’s a vicious cycle: your cells need the Fat Storing Hormone to combat the high sugar content, but they’re also blocking the Fat Storing Hormone so your body continues to produce more. And on and on it goes.

Luckily, there’s a solution: keto and intermittent fasting. See, fat is the only macronutrient that actually doesn’t trigger a spike in Fat Storing Hormone (both protein and carbohydrates do). That said, even if you do consume a high-fat diet, large meals will also create a slight spike.

That’s why you need to combine keto and intermittent fasting to effectively combat Fat Storing Hormone resistance. You can learn more about this here.


4. Statins

If you’re on statins to lower your cholesterol, that could be another reason for low sperm count.

This is because testosterone is a sex hormone made from cholesterol, so if you block your cholesterol production, guess what? You block the influence over your testicles.

Again, the solution here is to change your diet so you can get off the medication and lower your cholesterol naturally.


5. GMO Foods

We’ve been hearing for a long time that GMO foods are “bad,” and there are many products available today that specifically advertise themselves as “GMO-free.” The concerns? Things like unwanted changes to the nutritional content, the creation of allergens, and toxic effects on bodily organs.

A lot of these concerns aren’t backed up or proven by the research, though they remain relevant.

That said, one big concern is the increased use of herbicides like Roundup Ready in GMO crops. And there is an increase. Why? GMO foods are herbicide-tolerant, meaning that you can spray more without harming the crops. So farmers have been spraying more glyphosate, the primary pesticide in Roundup Ready. In fact, globally, the use of glyphosate has increased 15-fold since the introduction of GM glyphosate-tolerant crops. And glyphosate use in the agricultural sector rose a massive 300-fold from 1974 to 2014.

The problem here is that there’s a huge connection between glyphosate and lower sperm count.

That’s why, again, it’s vital to start doing organic food.


6. Soy

Soy can be an endocrine disruptor

This is very relevant since soy is in so many different popular foods, like:

  • “Keto-friendly bars,” which contain soy isolates

  • Diet shakes

  • Vegetarian or vegan meat substitutes

  • Soy milk

Now, soy has been directly associated with lowering sperm count. Scientists suspect that this is because soybeans are rich in isoflavones. These proteins are phytoestrogens, which may also play a role as endocrine disruptors.

That’s why it may be a good idea to ditch the soy.


Many ingredients and products that we use in modern life could be negatively impacting sperm count. The best you can do is to take this as a wake-up call so you can understand the risks, stay informed, and take care of your health armed with information.

If you would like to check out my video on testosterone, you can find it here.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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