How to improve sperm health

How To Increase Male Fertility

Top Nutrients To Increase Male Fertility

Male Fertility And Infertility

Planning to conceive is an exciting time, but it can be highly frustrating if it takes longer than you expected. Often most of the focus is on the female side. In this blog post, we will discuss five essential nutrients that may be helpful to improve male fertility and sperm health. 

Male factor infertility is behind 30% of infertility cases. There are several factors related to this, such as:

  • Issues with sperm health
  • Function problems
  • Barriers to the movement of sperm

Male fertility can be influenced by a range of health and lifestyle factors. Lifestyle factors that are known to impact sperm health negatively include alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, exercise levels, obesity, stress levels, diet and caffeine intake. 

Infertility can often result from impaired sperm production, movement or shape, sperm antibodies, chromosome and DNA abnormalities, hormonal problems or erectile and ejaculation difficulties. After 45, sperm volume and motility are significantly decreased in men.

10 Ways To Improve Sperm Quality


What Can Men Do?

Here are five nutrients that are important to focus on when treating male infertility or improving male fertility:

  1. Zinc

Zinc is vital in helping male fertility, and it has been found to help increase testosterone levels, prevent DNA chromosome changes, and improve sperm count. Zinc additionally has antioxidant effects that protect sperm from oxidative damage that free radicals can inflict. 

Oysters are the best source of zinc that there is. Additionally, most meats and poultry, including lamb, beef, veal and even goat and kangaroo, contain good amounts of zinc. Here is an example of foods that are high in zinc:

  • Oysters
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Red meat, lamb & beef (Avoid processed meat and choose lean meat)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cashew nuts

If consuming zinc from primarily plant-based foods, it’s important to remember that the daily requirement is increased by 50% as absorption of zinc from these foods is less effective than from animal sources. 

If you consider taking a zinc supplement, always consult with your fertility dietitian first, as a high dose of zinc can interfere with the absorption of other nutrients.

Nutrients To Boost Sperm Health


2. Folate

Folate is essential to make DNA and genetic materials to make new cells. Folate is not just important for women who are trying to conceive. Low concentrations of folate in seminal plasma may also increase sperm DNA damage. 

Taking a folate supplement is an option and best to discuss with a fertility dietitian. The best way is to start having more foods that are naturally high in folate:

  • Liver
  • Black beans, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds
  • Seaweed, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, lettuce
  • Avocado
  • Fortified food such as breakfast cereals

Folate Versus Folic Acid


3. Omega-3

Omega-3 is a healthy fat and has powerful antioxidant abilities that help it reduce inflammation and oxidative stress within the body. It has been found to help increase sperm count.

EPA and DHA are two common types of omega-3 fatty acids. A recent review found that the ability to conceive increased in infertile men after supplementation with DHA and EPA over eight months. The supplementation increased total sperm count and concentration.

The current recommendation is to consume 2-3 servings (150g per serving) of fish per week. Oily fish is the best EPA and DHA (omega-3) source, such as salmon, trout, sardines, and mackerel, providing over 2000 mg omega-3 per 150g. You may require to take an omega-3 supplement if not meeting the suggested weekly fish intake. 


4. Selenium

Selenium is an essential nutrient found to assist in testicular development spermatogenesis and help increase sperm motility and function. A recent study on infertile men found that daily selenium and vitamin E supplementation for at least 100 days increased sperm motility and morphology in 52% of participants. 

Selenium can be found in many foods, including;

  • Oily fish such as; salmon, tuna and sardines
  • Chicken 
  • Eggs 
  • Brazil nuts
  • Spinach
  • Chickpeas 

High dose supplementation (more than 400 ug/day) of selenium is not recommended as it could cause harm to our bodies, so be aware of this and consult your doctor or fertility dietitian before commencing supplementation.


5. Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10, also known as Coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinone, is a fat-soluble antioxidant that our body produces naturally.

It also acts as a bioenergetic molecule, empowering our body’s energy production cycle. It’s in just about every cell in our body.

CoQ10 is found in red meat, fish, nuts and avocado. However, the amount of food may not be sufficient to meet the increased need for the CoQ10 level. 

One study has shown that antioxidants may play a critical role in protecting male germ cells against oxidative damage. The CoQ10 supplementation has been associated with improvement in sperm parameters.

Foods To Avoid When Trying To Conceive

Need more help? I’ve worked with many couples trying to conceive, including managing male fertility issues to improve sperm health and quality.

can help you and your partner create a personalised nutrition plan tailored to your health conditions and nutritional needs. 

With all my love ❤️,

Dietitian Catherine Chong

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