Causes of Infertility: Malnutrition

Malnutrition is one of several causes of infertility in men. Excessive exercise and severe restrictions in food intake can affect sperm count, sperm motility and even reduce or stop sperm production. Below is an explanation of the causes of malnutrition and an explanation of its effect on a body's reproduction system.

Restriction of Calories

Restriction of calories or ingestion of non-nutritious food can lead to deficiencies in many of the hormones and vitamins essential to sperm production. Moderate restriction can cause low levels of vitamin C, zinc and folic acid, vitamins the body needs to function properly. Severe restriction can lead to muscle deterioration and the body's cessation of non-essential functions such as sperm production.

Similarly, ingesting a large amount of foods high in fat or with no nutritional value can lead to the body not possessing the right vitamins and minerals, which can lead to reduction or cessation of functions. In this situation, not producing sperm or other infertility issues would be caused by a lack of necessary vitamins that would prevent the body from engaging in its normal functions.

Excessive Exercise

Excessive exercise can lead to malnutrition by forcing the body to release any stored nutrition to protect itself and provide energy during the exercise. To regenerate itself when it is fed, the body would put the nutrition it receives towards essential functions which could possibly not include sperm production. If the body expects to undergo excessive exercise in the future, it will begin to store food to burn at that time and not release energy to other areas. 

Excessive exercise can also make the testicular area too hot, causing a decrease in sperm count or sperm motility. Sperm is sensitive to temperatures, and heat damages a sperm's quality. It is advisable to keep the testicular region cool and dry. 

Ingestion of Herbal Medicines and Nutritional Supplements

While many herbal medicines are designed to enhance the body's natural capabilities, some herbal medicines may negatively affect a body's processes. Herbal medicine could possibly reduce or impede the nutrients the body uses to create sperm and mobilize it after ejaculation. Many nutritional supplements are designed to replace the vitamins and minerals obtained through food. Sometimes they take the place of meals altogether. Nutritional supplements and herbal medicines are no substitute for eating; ingesting either could affect your body's normal processes or even cause damage if they are used as meal replacements.


While not normally considered part of malnutrition, obesity is a category within this topic, as it is a form of not eating properly and maintaining a healthy weight. Eating too many calories, being overweight or eating foods with little to no nutritional value can put too much pressure on the reproductive system. These situations could lead to sperm with poor motility.

A healthy body is essential for any individual attempting a pregnancy. Sperm production, motility and quality are influenced by the levels of vitamins and minerals in the body and a man's caloric intake.

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