Male infertility is often due to abnormal sperm function, low sperm production or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm. Illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems (like prostate cancer), lifestyle choices and other factors can also affect the male reproductive system.
Now, here are the different organs of the male reproductive system and their functions:
- Penis: Delivers sperms to the female reproductive tract
- Testis: Produces sperm cells
- Epididymis: Stores sperm cells
- Vas deferens: Transports mature sperms to the urethra
- Seminal vesicles: Glands that contribute to seminal fluid
- Prostate gland: Gland located below the bladder that provides nourishing fluid to the sperm
- Cowper’s gland: Another pair of glands that are involved in production of semen
Most often than not, a damage or malfunctioning of any these organs can result in male infertility.
How is Turmeric Relevant in the Treatment of Male Reproductive System Disorders?
Turmeric is a spice common to India and belonging to the ginger family. This spice made up of a golden yellow rhizome from which the yellow powder and oil are extracted. Its most active ingredient, curcumin is known for its medicinal properties.
Here are some medical properties of turmeric that could be vital to the treatment of male reproductive system disorders:
- Anti-oxidant: Turmeric mitigates oxidative damage caused by toxicity
- Anti-inflammatory : Turmeric can help in alleviating pain and swelling of male reproductive organs
- Anti-cancer: It can help in the treatment of testicular and prostate cancer
- Anti-microbial: Turmeric staves off infections
The Benefits of Turmeric for the Male Reproductive System
Several studies have found that due to the bioactive ingredients contained in turmeric, it is effective in treating various disorders associated with the male reproductive system.
· It is Effective for Combating Erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction, or the inability to get or sustain an erection, affects millions of older men in America. However, millennial men experience it too. It is a result of psychological issues or medical conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, tobacco use, enlarged prostate gland, and diabetes.
Some studies on animals found that a water soluble derivative of curcumin is even more effective than Viagra and Cialis in treating ED.
· It Improves Symptoms Linked with Benign prostate enlargement
Benign prostate hyperplasia, also known as prostate enlargement is simply the increase in size of the prostate gland. Interestingly, it affects almost all older men and increases the risk of developing cancer.
However, a special formulation of curcumin called meriva is helpful in treating symptoms of UTIs and benign prostate enlargement. And no, it has no side effects.
Turmeric Has a Therapeutic Effect on Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is cancer of the prostate gland that generally occurs at an older age. It affects the production of semen, but can spread to bones and other parts of the body.
What curcumin compounds do is to stop the growth of prostate cancer cells at molecular levels and prevent its spread. Evidence indicates that curcumin can increase sensitivity of cancerous cells to docetaxel, the first line of treatment for surgery-resistant prostate cancer.
· It Reduces Inflammation in Prostatitis
Though prostatitis is caused by the inflammation of the prostate, it could also be due to a bacterial infection. Some of the symptoms of prostatitis include discomfort while urinating, pain in the genitals and lower back ache.
Luckily, a study on animals suggests that curcumin is effective in reducing the levels of agents that cause inflammation such as tumor necrosis factor and interleukin.
· It Fights Against Infections in Gonorrhoea
Gonorrhoea is a medical condition with symptoms of inflammatory discharge from the urethra caused by bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. This infection is linked to the risk of bladder cancer.
Studies have, however, proven that a combination of vitamin D and curcumin can be powerful anti-microbial agents that fight against drug-resistant gonorrhoeae. In fact, curcumin alone can treat the infection.
· Turmeric Destroys Testicular Cancer cells
Testicular cancer generally affects younger men and can affect one or both of the testes. Thankfully, among all other types of cancer, it has the highest cure rate.
According to research, curcumin is therapeutic and can destroy cancerous cells. It also inhibits the multiplication of these harmful cells by preventing the activity of AP-2γ (a type of protein that supports cell survival and proliferation).
When used concurrently with curcumin, bleomycin (a drug commonly used in the treatment of testicular cancer) kills cancerous cells. With bleomycin overdose, curcumin can also help in reducing the side effects.
· It Prevents Toxicity-induced Male Infertility
When otherwise virile men are exposed to the use of some medications, disorders, chronic alcohol intake, tobacco smoking or/and toxins, it can result in male infertility.
For instance, due to oxidative stress, an anti-diabetic drug called streptozotocin can instigate testicular damage. But with its antioxidant properties, curcumin can repair this damage.
Some drugs such as aflatoxin , dexamethasone, chloroquine, metronidazole, and cyclophosphamide can cause testicular toxicity. However, curcumin plays a vital role in combating toxicity induced by these medications.
· Tumeric Can Repair Damage Caused by Testicular Torsion
Testicular torsion occurs when blood supply is blocked to the testicles because the testicles are suspended and rotate.
Now, because curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it helps to repair the damage caused by torsion. Additionally, curcumin increases antioxidant enzyme levels and encourages spermatogenesis.
Note: Turmeric May Have Anti-fertility effects Too
I understand how confusing this is. Some studies have suggested that turmeric has an anti-fertility or anti-spermatogenetic effect on men. They even went further to say it could be developed into a non-hormonal contraceptive!
In another twist, a research has also proven that turmeric’s anti-fertility effect can be reversed when the consumption of aqueous extract of turmeric is stopped.
Note that these results are obtained from animal studies. No human study has indicated that turmeric affects the quality of sperm or causes male infertility when taken orally. So relax and consume your turmeric.
The best way to use turmeric? Simply incorporate it in your diet. Oh yes, you can add a dollop of turmeric paste to your soup, salad, rice, or soup. There are numerous recipes that include the use of turmeric and you can find them online. However, you can check this link for a list of good brands of turmeric supplements.
As a spice, turmeric is safe for consumption. However, with supplements, like we always advise, consult a doctor before taking it to avoid negative interactions and side effects.
Pregnant and lactating women should not take turmeric supplements. Turmeric’s blood thinning properties might affect surgical outcome. So it should be avoided 15 days prior to a surgery. People with gallbladder issues or gastrointestinal disorders should also steer clear of turmeric.
The Bottom Line
Due to our culture’s idea of masculinity, it might be tempting to cave to insecurities the minute something goes wrong below the belt. But try hard not to turn the focus on the problem and think of a solution. Take a deep breath, quiet those inner voices, and resist the urge to fret.
One solution to definitely give a try is turmeric. This is because it plays a therapeutic role in the male reproductive system. Because it has anti-inflammatory action, anti-microbial, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties, it can easily combat various disorders.
Also, it works well, when taken in combination with conventional treatments.