Infertility has been estimated to affect 48.5 million couples worldwide. In 10–20% of infertility cases, the male is determined to be solely responsible for infertility. This article reviews the best supplements and vitamins to maximize male fertility.
In 10–20% of infertility cases, males are solely responsible for infertility and may require medical intervention to help successfully conceive a child.
Lifestyle changes such as increasing physical activity, improving diet, and reducing stress can have beneficial effects on sperm development.
Numerous supplements, vitamins, and minerals have been studied and shown to improve sperm parameters such as sperm count, motility, and morphology.
Adding a supplement can help maximize your potential to conceive a child but always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new supplement, vitamin, or mineral.
What is male infertility and what causes it?
The World Health Organization defines infertility as an inability to successfully achieve pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. The inability to conceive can be due to abnormalities in the female or male reproductive system. Male infertility occurs when it is determined the male is the sole reason for infertility (10–20% of the time).
Specific medical conditions or genetic disorders can cause male infertility. However, in 30–40% of male infertility cases, no history of disease affects fertility. In these instances, the causes can include a decreased sperm count, abnormal sperm morphology (shape of sperm), or decreased sperm motility (movement). This is often referred to as idiopathic male infertility.
A number of lifestyles and nutritional factors play a role in healthy sperm development. Thus, this is why male fertility supplements have been studied. A male fertility supplement is any dietary supplement shown to promote healthy sperm development and improve male fertility.
Do male fertility supplements work?
Numerous studies have found various vitamins, nutrients, and supplements to support healthy male fertility. In addition, these dietary supplements have been shown to increase sperm counts, maintain the healthy shape of sperm, and increase their motility. However, it is unknown if these supplements ultimately result in the development of a pregnancy.
Vitamins, minerals, and other supplements have very few side effects and offer the potential to improve conception rates. We have provided a list of some of the best supplements on the market. However, talk with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new vitamin, mineral, or supplement.
Best supplements for male fertility
Traditional Indian medicine has used this plant native to India for many years for its rejuvenating effects and ability to combat stress. Additionally, in a placebo-controlled study, taking 90 days of Ashwagandha supplements increased sperm counts by 167%, improved sperm motility by 57%, and increased semen volume by 53% while also increasing testosterone levels by 17%. These results prove herbal medicine is an option for treating male infertility.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are Omega-3 fatty acids studied for male infertility, with DHA likely being the most beneficial. In numerous studies, these fatty acids were shown to improve sperm motility, increase DHA in seminal fluid, and improve the morphology of sperm cells. In addition, the antioxidant properties of DHA and EPA are beneficial for the overall health and survival of the sperm.
As an important component in the production of energy for cells, Coenzyme Q10 has been shown to improve sperm motility and morphology. Additionally, it is a powerful antioxidant shown to reduce oxidative stresses within the seminal fluid, which as stated earlier, is beneficial for the overall function and health of sperm cells. Given its positive effects on sperm and antioxidant properties, Coenzyme Q10 is a significant supplement in boosting male fertility.
Prenatal vitamins for men
Many supplements, minerals, and vitamins, including prenatal vitamins, have shown promising effects in treating male infertility, specifically improving sperm count, motility, and morphology. When comparing the available products, it isn't easy to choose one product. One thing to keep in mind when taking prenatal vitamins is that men should not share the same prenatal vitamins with their female partners.
Studies have proven combinations to be helpful in the treatment of male infertility. One meta-analysis identified products containing selenium (alone or combined with N-acetylcysteine), co-enzyme Q10, L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, folic acid, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) to have positive effects on male infertility. However, there are no head-to-head studies evaluating one combination over another.
When choosing products, pick those that have undergone analysis by a third-party lab. This ensures the ingredients in the pills match those listed on the bottle.
Best vitamins to boost male fertility
If you want to boost male fertility with the help of vitamins, here are the ones you should consider:
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) can cause significant damage to developing sperm, resulting in reduced counts and motility, as well as fragmentation of DNA. It is easy to see why this potent antioxidant has been considered for treating male infertility. Studies have shown vitamin C to effectively improve sperm counts, viability, motility, and morphology, making it ideal for use in male infertility.
Receptors for vitamin D have been found to exist within the testes and sperm cells, suggesting it plays an essential role in the male reproductive tract. Vitamin D has been shown to improve sperm parameters, especially sperm motility, and increase pregnancy rates in patients with normal vitamin D levels.
Similar to vitamin C, vitamin E has antioxidant properties to reduce the oxidative damage to ROS on developing sperm cells. Vitamin E has been shown to improve sperm motility and increase pregnancy rates in couples compared to a control group. Additionally, studies combining vitamin C and E have demonstrated improvements in sperm motility, morphology, and increased pregnancy rates.
Best minerals to boost male fertility
There are two useful minerals that can help with male fertility:
Arguably one of the most important minerals in the male reproductive tract, as it plays a role in the normal development of the testes and sperm. Zinc deficiency is associated with many reproductive-related conditions, making this nutrient essential for a healthy reproductive life. Many studies have identified zinc supplementation to improve sperm counts and motility.
Normal testicular and sperm development require selenium. Therefore, it makes sense that supplementation would be important in the treatment of male infertility, and it has been shown to improve sperm motility and morphology parameters in a number of studies. It has also been shown to improve the rate of achieved pregnancies in treated patients.
What else can help increase sperm count and male fertility?
In addition to the supplements discussed, numerous lifestyle changes can improve the quality and quantity of sperm to help achieve reproductive success.
Chronic exposure to stress was shown to have a negative effect on the reproductive health of males. Stress can reduce the production of luteinizing hormones and testosterone in the body, which plays an important role in sperm development and quality. By identifying stressful situations, one can be proactive in making lifestyle changes to combat these situations, which may improve sperm parameters and fertility.
Obesity and physical inactivity have been linked to decreased sperm quality. However, continuous high-intensity physical activity can also have detrimental effects on the male reproductive system by increasing oxidative stress and temperatures in the seminal fluid. Moderate-intensity physical activity may have a better overall effect on reproductive health and sperm parameters.
Supplements are often used to combat an imperfect diet. Significant improvements can be achieved by adding certain foods to your diet. Increasing fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts, and fish in your diet can increase the intake of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, proven beneficial in improving sperm parameters.
Conceiving a child may take months to achieve. Healthy lifestyle choices and the addition of some of the above supplements can maximize your success. However, if you have been trying for about a year without success, seek help from a doctor trained to deal with male infertility.
Does D-aspartic acid increase sperm count?
Yes. D-aspartic acid, when taken for 90 days, has been shown to increase both sperm count and sperm motility. In addition, it increased the number of pregnancies in couples taking the supplement. Therefore, it can be helpful to males experiencing infertility.
Which amino acid helps sperm count?
Leucine and arginine are two of the best amino acids shown to improve sperm count and quality. A supplement containing the essential amino acids can likely be beneficial for healthy sperm development. It is also recommended to eat fish and poultry, which are high in protein and other essential nutrients that can increase sperm counts.
Can folic acid increase male fertility?
There are mixed reviews on whether folic acid actually improves male fertility. Some men likely benefit from folic acid more than others, especially those with changes in genes related to folic acid metabolism. However, it may not provide any benefit to most men. Overall, there are few side effects with folic acid supplementation, and it may be worth trying.
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