Proper nutrition is critical to our health in so many ways. Our bodies need the proper amount of certain vitamins and minerals to effectively perform their processes, as well as maintain proper cellular and organ health. This of course includes the organs and processes associated with reproduction, so it is not surprising that the nutrients we consume can impact on fertility, including male fertility.
Even when eating a healthy, balanced diet this is often not enough to get the nutrients we need. A combination of our hectic lifestyles nowadays and modern food production, storage and transportation which saps the nutrients from our food means that the minerals and vitamins we eat are not sufficient. This is where supplements come in.
Of course, male fertility is a complex picture, with many factors influencing fertility, covering genetic, health and lifestyle factors. Although nutrition is just one aspect of this picture, supplements can be useful in improving fertility in men.
The Link Between Nutrition and Fertility
There are several ways in which the vitamins and minerals that men consume impact on reproductive processes and fertility. In some cases, certain nutrients have been shown to increase testosterone levels, which is strongly linked to male fertility, with lower testosterone being one of the possible causes for low sperm count. Other supplements can help to mitigate or counteract health problems which may be contributing to low fertility, such as oxidative stress, or help to increase libido.
In the next section we will examine the ways nutritional supplements may assist with male fertility issues. Because these supplements act in specific ways, it is vital to consult with your doctor to determine whether nutritional supplements could be beneficial in your case.
Can Supplements Boost Male Fertility?
There are a number of supplements which can improve or strengthen male fertility:
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C has been linked to improved semen quality, as well as combatting some of the effects of oxidative stress, a condition which has been shown to lower fertility. One study showed that participants who took 1000-mg vitamin C supplements twice daily for two months had an increased sperm count of more than 100%, reduced proportion of deformed sperm cells by 55%, and increased sperm motility of 92%.
- Vitamin D: There is some evidence that higher Vitamin D levels are linked to greater sperm motility, while Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to cause low testosterone levels.
- D-Aspartic Acid: Also known as D-AA, D-Asperatic is form of amino acid, the building blocks of protein. This particular amino acid is found naturally in male reproductive organs and tissues, including the testes, semen and sperm. Studies show that D-AA levels are much lower in infertile men and suggest that taking D-AA supplements will boost testosterone levels in men, aiding with sperm count and motility.
- Zinc: Zinc is an essential mineral vital to many bodily processes, including reproduction and fertility. Research has linked low zinc levels to lowered testosterone, sperm quality and increased risk of infertility in men.
- Tribulus terrestris: Tribulus terrestris is a medicinal herb also known as puncture vine, goat’s head or Gokshura. Research suggests that this herb improves erectile function and libido. Some have promoted it as increasing testosterone levels, but there is no evidence for this. It is likely, however that it enhances male libido.
- Fenugreek: Fenugreek is another medicinal herb, which is also commonly used in cooking. A study showed that taking fenugreek extract contributed to higher testosterone levels, as well as strength and fat loss, in male participants.
The timing of when you take your supplements is important: if you are not sure when to take your supplements, check with your doctor.
Other Health Benefits of Supplements
Taking nutritional supplements have benefits which go well beyond just fertility. Supplements can often by essential to achieving optimum health and fitness by ensuring our bodies have the required levels of the nutrients they need.
For example, Vitamin D is vital for bone health as well as lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease and even some forms of cancer, nearly half of adults in the US suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. Other vitamins, particularly Vitamin C and the B group vitamins are hugely important for maintaining a strong immune system, gastrointestinal health, and cellular health in general.
Important supplements are not limited to vitamins. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly beneficial in improving energy levels and reducing inflammation, and iron is critical for healthy levels of oxygen in the blood. For those looking to build more muscle mass, amino acid supplements can be highly effective. Check this muscle supplement guide for more on how to use supplements to build muscle.
Nutritional supplements can have many health benefits, and depending on the nature of your fertility challenges, may just help to boost your fertility!