An increase in the number of couples finding it difficult to conceive is evidenced in the growing cases of infertility. Issues around the woman’s health are often the initial point of focus, but attention to men’s health is just as important. After all it does take two to make a baby!
Almost one in two infertility cases involve both men and women
However, there is evidence that the quantity and quality of male sperm is declining in Western countries, some studies showing that average sperm counts have fallen by over half. The World Health Organization’s standards for classifying men as infertile have moved down over the years. At first, a man with a sperm count under 60 million/mL was considered infertile. Then it dropped to 40 million/mL, then 20. It is now at 15 million/mL. If you are over that mark, over 60% lower than original standards, you are still considered “normal.”
Couples should both review their dietary and lifestyle habits when trying to conceive. Studies have proven that there are a number of nutrients which should be included in a healthy, balanced diet to improve reproductive health.
Studies specifically looking at the dietary requirements for a man to produce healthy, “super sperm” have found a number of nutrients which are particularly essential to sperm health.
Researchers investigating the effect of fruit and vegetables on the health of sperm discovered that carrots produced the best all-round results. They had the greatest effect on ‘motility’ – a term used to describe the ability of sperm to swim towards an egg. Red fruit and veg, particularly tomatoes, which contain the anti-cancer chemical lycopene, were associated with fewer abnormally shaped sperm.
Below is a list of other nutrients essential to sperm health, along with some useful lifestyle tips for hopeful fathers to be.
Essential Nutrients for Healthy Sperm:
Vitamin C inhibits DNA damage in sperm
- food sources: red peppers, guava, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, Shine
- Always choose bio-available sources (so that the body can absorb the vitamin C)
Zinc crucial; the body cannot make sperm without it!
- food sources: oysters, pumpkin seeds, ginger root, legumes (peas, beans, peanuts, alfalfa)
Folic Acid works with zinc to help create sperm DNA molecules
- food sources: brewer’s yeast, legumes, liver, green leafy vegetables
Selenium required to make the mid-section of sperm where its energy is generated
- food sources: whole wheat, brazil nuts, tuna, liver, Swiss chard, oats, brown rice
Vitamin E known as the “reproduction vitamin”
- food sources: nuts, seeds, whole grains, spinach, avocado
Vitamin A conditions the lining of the cells that become sperm
- food sources: whole milk, egg yolks, cod liver oil, meat, butter, cheese (animal products must be pastured, i.e. grass fed)
B Vitamins helps decrease oxidative stress on the body
- food sources: brewer’s yeast, nuts, seeds, whole grains, liver
Essential Fatty Acids necessary for reproduction and help sperm during fertilisation
- food sources: salmon, halibut, sardines, chia seeds, cod liver oil, avocado
Amino acids the building blocks of protein
Therefore, Amino Acids are essential to make healthy sperm.
L-arginine and L-carnitine are two that have been used to reverse male infertility. They’re available in many food sources and in a delicious tasting pink drink that has helped numerous couples conceive. This drink increases energy, orgasms and libido! Get it here
Food sources of L-arginines: chocolate, gelatin, meat, carrot, dairy, peanuts, walnuts, white flour, wheat, oats, wheat and wheat germ. Carnitine, on the other hand, is important in the metabolism of both fats and energy.
Food sources of L-carnitine are dairy, meat, avocado and beans. It is also naturally produced by the body in the liver and kidneys.
Astaxanthin an antioxidant
This antioxidant has been getting a lot of attention recently and studies show excellent results for improving sperm health
- food sources: algae, but you’d have to eat an enormous amount so supplementation is necessary
Mushrooms for better sperm
food sources: Reishi mushrooms strengthen the immune system, are anti-inflammatory and can prevent and treat candida yeast growth in the colon which can make it hard for sperm to function. You would have to eat a lot of them to reap the benefits so look to taking a capsule instead. Shiitake and cordyceps are also good choices and can be eaten whole.
Get your medicinal mushrooms in a simple, easy to eat powder form via SuperFood Shield
Herbs for better sperm
Some herbs like American ginseng, rosemary, green tea, turmeric, resveratrol, and saw palmetto can help sperm production. Tribulus is also well known to help testosterone, increase sperm count and aid the motility of the sperm. It can also help couples who have anti-sperm antibodies.
Foods to avoid
Red meat: too much red meat increases the amount of ammonia in the body, which can interfere with the implantation of the egg in the uterus. Red meat can also be detrimental for men as it increases acidity and affects sperm activity; sperm perform better in alkaline conditions.
- Lose weight – Being overweight can cause hormone imbalance and reduce fertility
- Cut out junk foods – Inflammation in the body from eating processed, packaged and fast foods can affect fertility.
- Cut down on plastics – Men who are exposed to phthalates, a group of chemicals found in plastic containers and hair products, took 20 percent longer to get their partners pregnant, a study in Fertility and Sterility found. Try to choose glass over plastic.
- Eliminate alcohol & smoking – Both are toxic to sperm and reduce fertility greatly
- Choose sunscreen wisely – A study in the U.S.A. found that men who had high levels of exposure to two UV filters—BP-2 and 4OH-BP— found in sunscreen and other personal care products had a 30 percent reduction in fertility. These ingredients may not be listed on the label so hit the shower after a day in the sun and cut down on other products with UV filters.
- Exercise – Boosts fertility and improves overall health; aim for moderate daily activity. Are you fertility fit? (Read more here…)
- Sleep – Getting enough sleep is crucial to all systems in the body, including reproduction
- Go commando – Loose fitting cotton underwear or even no underwear at all occasionally can help sperm production.
Related Topics Worth Reading:
- Tips to Boost Male Fertility – Read more
- Fertility Diet – What to Eat When Trying for a Baby – Read more
- Fertility Help For Modern Times – Why Falling Pregnant is So Hard Today – Read more
- Living a Fertile Lifestyle – Read/watch more
About the author:
Fiona Boulton is a Fertility Specialist
(An expert in her field since 2007) and leader in Fertility Mind Mastery, Fertility Meditation, Fertility Yoga and Fertility Coaching –
helping people take back control of their fertility, faster.
Fiona is the founder of Awakening Fertility – Harley Street (Harley Street Fertility Clinic), London; Concept Fertility Putney; Chichester, West Sussex and Perth, Australia
- Huffington Post Fertility Writer
- Fertility Coach
- Fertility Support Group Co-ordinator for Harley Street Fertility Clinic and Infertility Network UK
- Nutrition Counsellor
- Public Speaker
- QiYoga® Founder
- Fertility Yoga Teacher Trainer (RYS 200)
- Fertile Lifestyle Motivator
- Fertility Support Group Facilitator
- Fertility Practitioner Training Co-ordinator
Through Fiona’s “transformation guaranteed” Fertile Lifestyle courses, Fiona helps navigate major transitions to detox your mind and body to help you effectively ‘think yourself fertile’; to change the map your mind has of your body and therefore change your physiology by clearing mental and emotional blockages to having your baby. Fiona’s work focuses on you taking back control by changing the internal and external environment of your cells so you can improve chances of fertility success.
Book your fertility consultation from the comfort of your home or come to the Harley Street Fertility Clinic for a transformative session with Awakening Fertility founder Fiona Boulton, here.