9 Male Fertility Supplements & Vitamins to Improve Sperm
Fertility supplements and vitamins are a given for women trying to get pregnant, but did you know they can help men too? Declining fertility over the last 40 years has left men nearly half as fertile as their grandfather’s generation, with male infertility responsible for nearly 50% of all fertility issues in heterosexual couples today.
This trend is on the rise and, unfortunately, many are unaware until they are dealing with fertility issues and searching for options. Lifestyle and environmental factors aside, sperm quality and healthy sperm development are key components of male fertility.
In this article we will take a look at why healthy sperm matters and which male fertility supplements to consider. We’ll also cover who can benefit from male fertility supplements as well as other ways you can increase male fertility. Finally, we’ll also explore some of the most commonly asked questions about male fertility supplements.
What are fertility supplements?
Supplements are available in numerous forms, from pills to powders to tinctures, and usually contain a dietary ingredient or other nutrient as a means to boost your health. They often contain vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes chosen for their specific health benefit. Fertility supplements include a combination of ingredients that have demonstrated the potential to improve fertility outcomes. Male fertility supplements often include zinc, selenium, arginine, coenzyme Q, and folic acid as well as others.
It’s important to note though that even though they may help, supplements are often unregulated and lack evidence from clinical studies. Always check with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements especially if you take medication or have a diagnosed medical condition.
Can supplements help with male fertility?
Male fertility depends on many factors but one of the biggest things to consider is sperm quality. Many of the micronutrients found in these supplements have been associated with sperm health and their ability to increase sperm count, improve motility, and improve morphology. In other words, ingredients are chosen to help you make healthy swimmers that are going to get where they need to go – to fertilize an egg. However, despite growing research in this area of infertility, there are limited studies proving their effectiveness and the scientific consensus is mixed.
Male fertility supplements to consider
Sperm quality vs motility
Sperm quality and motility are two separate factors but they are intricately related. Your sperm may have adequate motility, meaning they can get where they need to go, but that won’t be helpful if those sperm are misshapen or are DNA damaged. Having healthy sperm isn’t just about the quantity of ejaculate, but also how well that sperm can swim and the physical makeup of the actual sperm. Both sperm quality and motility can be affected by the same factors like diet, hormone imbalance, or lifestyle choices.
Supplements for sperm quality
There is mounting evidence that certain nutritional supplements may help male fertility. Oxidative stress, when free radicals outnumber helpful antioxidants in the body, can be harmful to male fertility and damage sperm quality. Antioxidants are the body’s natural defense and the ones listed below have shown potential for their sperm protecting benefits.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that may promote sperm function in men. Found in many male fertility supplements, it is known to support reproductive health.
Not only can Vitamin C reduce cellular damage throughout your body and increase iron absorption, but research has also found it can improve sperm quality in men.
Selenium is a necessary mineral for the male body to produce sperm. It’s a powerful antioxidant that is included in supplements for its effect on semen quality.
Another essential element for the production of sperm, researchers have found that zinc levels can be correlated to healthy sperm. In other words, zinc is important for healthy sperm and supplementing with zinc could improve the quality of your sperm.
This naturally occurring antioxidant is found in tomatoes and many studies support its use as a fertility supplement. It is added to supplements to increase sperm quality through improvements in motility and structure.
Long known for its role in preventing neural tube defects (which is why pregnant women take it), folic acid can be good for men, too. It’s thought to work with zinc in the production of sperm DNA but research results are mixed. Studies have not shown any significant harm from taking folic acid, so it is often included in male fertility vitamins.
Supplements for sperm motility
The best male fertility supplements to support sperm movement have specific vitamins and minerals that have been shown to improve motility. Below are the key nutrients that support sperm motility.
One of the most powerful supplements for male fertility, this biomolecule is found in every human cell. Supplementing with CoQ10 has been shown to improve sperm count, motility, and morphology.
Although L-carnitine helps all sperm parameters, it’s most effective at improving sperm motility. This antioxidant has shown promise in helping treat both male and female fertility issues.
Vitamin D is important for many biological functions including fertility. Studies link low levels of this vitamin with poor sperm quality, especially motility, and show that supplementation can help improve the health of your sperm.
How common is male infertility?
Male infertility is more common than you think. In over one third of all infertility cases a male factor is identified and it affects nearly 10% of men in the United States trying to conceive. There are many factors, both biological and environmental, that can impact your fertility and some males are more likely than others to experience problems. Lifestyle factors like obesity, smoking, or exposure to toxins all increase your chances of infertility while in other cases there may be no identifiable cause.
Who can benefit from male fertility supplements?
Although most men would benefit from some extra vitamins and minerals in their system, you should only take fertility supplements if you need them. Everyone is different and not all supplements are created equal so it is always important to speak to your healthcare provider first.
If the results of a semen analysis are within normal ranges, fertility supplements are medically unnecessary. However, for men with sperm quality issues, supplements might help.
Men with low sperm count
How to increase sperm count is one of the first areas to address with male infertility. Sperm health is essential for conception and the World Health Organization has defined the parameters of healthy sperm.
If the results of a semen analysis indicate that the concentration of sperm per milliliter of semen is low, fertility supplements may help to increase your sperm count. Even though you only need one sperm to fertilize an egg, the more healthy swimmers you have the more likely your chances of success.
Men with low sperm motility
Having healthy sperm isn’t just about the number of swimmers in your semen. Sperm need to swim through a woman’s cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes to reach the egg and have a chance at fertilizing it.
At least half of those swimmers need to be moving forward with a reasonable speed to have healthy sperm motility. What you eat can play a big role in sperm health and you can help by choosing supplements with the specific vitamins and nutrients that have been shown to improve sperm motility.
Men with poor sperm morphology
Sperm morphology refers to the appearance and shape of your sperm and is an important part of sperm health. Sperm regenerates every 72 days so if you boost your diet with sperm friendly vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you can see an improvement fairly quickly. While not all sperm composition issues can be helped with supplements, male fertility vitamins are a great option for those looking to improve their overall sperm health.
Other ways to increase male fertility
Because fertility depends on a number of factors, there are steps you can take to increase male fertility. Not only are most of these related to lifestyle choices but many are well within your control and can be easily implemented.
Unfortunately there are many aspects of a “normal” lifestyle that could have an impact on your fertility. In general,you’ll want to be in good physical condition to increase your chances and boost your fertility. This means maintaining a healthy weight, eating the proper nutrients, getting enough sleep, managing stress, and getting enough exercise whenever possible.
Exercise doesn’t just do a body good, it can even be beneficial for your fertility. Regular exercise helps the testicles function better which then improves sperm count. One study even found that certain exercises, like weight lifting and running, are better than others to improve sperm count. Any exercise is better than none at all and exercise has a number of benefits beyond fertility.
Stress has been linked to a number of health problems and is an overall fertility inhibitor in both men and women. Researchers don’t yet know the exact link, but elevated levels of cortisol may play a role. Stress raises this hormone level which can then affect multiple systems throughout the body. Stress is a natural part of life, but there are things you can do to manage it including exercise, journalling, or even meditation.
Losing excess weight
Carrying a little too much holiday weight is one thing, but excess weight may be holding you back when it comes to your fertility. Everything from low sperm motility to hormonal changes can negatively affect male fertility so it’s key to lose any excess weight.
Get enough sleep
Multiple studies have shown the importance of sleep when it comes to fertility. Quality rest and adequate sleep are vital for your health and some research has found a link between sleep duration and semen quality.
The best way to get the nutrients your body needs is through diet. Your diet should include a healthy mix of foods rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other vitamins. Avoid foods high in fatty or trans-fatty acids, and focus on antioxidant-rich foods to benefit fertility.
Eat more walnuts
Foods like walnuts are rich in antioxidants and seem to benefit fertility. It’s believed they can help reduce oxidative damage to sperm and lead to improved fertility.
Limit alcohol intake
Heavy alcohol consumption is not good for your health and drinking too much can lower testosterone levels and impact sperm health. Lower or moderate your consumption to control this fertility factor.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are some of the best sources for the vitamins and minerals you need to support your fertility. Many vitamins and nutrients known to increase male fertility are readily available in the food you already eat (or could add to your diet). Citrus fruits, oysters, nuts, and beans are all rich dietary sources that play an important role in sperm health.
Male fertility supplements FAQs
Are male fertility supplements safe?
Supplements contain active ingredients that may have an effect on your body and there are always minor risks involved. Because they don’t undergo the same regulatory scrutiny as medications, manufacturers and distributors are responsible for making sure their products are safe. Always check with your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take.
What vitamins increase sperm count?
Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D have all been demonstrated to improve sperm count. Zinc, Folate, CoQ10, Ashwaganda, Shilajit, Omega 3 fatty acids, and Lycopene are other nutrients that help sperm count as well.
What kills a man’s sperm count?
Sperm count can be affected by a number of things including infections, disease, previous medical treatments, age, hormone imbalances, and physical defects. Common sperm killers include heat, obesity, and varicocele (a varicose vein in the scrotum), and environmental toxins. In general, anything that’s bad for your overall health is bad for your sperm.