4 Foods to Increase Male Fertility
Having healthy sperm is important to male fertility, and you can help increase your fertility by eating the right things. Read on to learn the 4 foods to increase male fertility.
By OBGYN and fertility specialist Dr. Kenosha Gleaton
Many of us know the basic guidelines for women who are pregnant and trying to conceive, but male fertility is often left out of the conversation. Here are some guidelines on what nutrients to consume to best support male fertility.
Why is male fertility important?
Fertility is not just dependent on female reproductive health. Male infertility or male factor infertility, is defined by any health issue that lowers the chance of a female partner becoming pregnant. If you’re trying to conceive (TTC), prioritizing the fertility and health of sperm and egg are equally as important!
Generally, male infertility falls into four categories:
Sperm production problems
Sperm delivery problems
Other lifestyle and environmental factors
The most common problem men with infertility face is a problem in the testes that causes a defect in sperm production. This is the case in 65-80% of cases. Other causes could include a blockage that prevents sperm from leaving the body, hormonal imbalances, or, in the case of 20-30% of men, there are no identifiable causes. Male infertility is likely untreatable in a good majority of cases, although this doesn’t mean a pregnancy can never occur. Regardless of someone’s infertility being untreatable, it’s still recommended that patients seeking out treatment or advice on male fertility be advised to adopt a healthy diet, increasing exercise, using fertility friendly lubricant, reducing stress, and more.
Ensuring that male fertility is taken as seriously as female fertility sets families up for the best chances of success when TTC. After all, sperm is half the equation.
How do you classify “good” male fertility?
When assessing a man’s fertility, the first step for many is ordering a semen analysis. This will give the physician an idea on how much sperm is found in a man’s semen, how well that sperm is able to move, and if the sperm looks the way sperm cells are supposed to. Here is a general overview of what “normal” results might look like following a semen analysis:
For a breakdown of what these terms mean, read A Urologist’s Guide to Male Fertility.
If a male is able to ejaculate and a sperm analysis shows at least some sperm that are of normal morphology, have some forward progression, good motility, and an average pH between 7.2 and 8.0, fertility is likely to be average or good. Semen analysis can also be done discreetly and conveniently with an at home sperm test kit.
What nutrients are essential for male fertility?
There isn’t a perfect list of vitamins and minerals that will guarantee fertility, but there are a few nutrients that have been shown to play important roles in reproductive health.
Antioxidants are a great nutrient for supporting health as they fight free-radicals, which can damage cells. Antioxidants have been shown to improve semen quality and potentially increase the probability of pregnancy and live birth. Common antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and others.
Some data shows that zinc and folate supplementation may increase sperm count. Folate is also important for DNA maintenance, RNA transfer, and protein synthesis.
Another common antioxidant, CoQ10 or coenzyme Q10, is beneficial for supporting sperm health.
Hormone balance and production is also a large part of fertility in both men and women. Experimental studies have found that vitamin D supplementation supports male fertility through modulating hormone production and improving semen quality.
Maintaining a balanced diet is a great way to ensure the intake of essential nutrients. For some, dietary supplements can also be a great way to support adequate intake of all nutrients. There are also some vitamins and minerals that can be difficult to consume through the diet. We’ve formulated tasty gummy vitamins to help you consume the adequate intake of these essential nutrients, including CoQ10 gummies and vitamin D gummies. Male prenatal vitamins are also formulated with all the essential vitamins and minerals needed to support male fertility.
4 foods to eat for male fertility
So we’ve reviewed what nutrients play a role in male fertility, but how can you consume these nutrients in your daily life? Here’s a list of some foods and food groups you should prioritize in your diet:
Broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, leafy greens, kale, sweet potatoes, the list goes on! These vegetables are all high in antioxidant compounds such as vitamins C and E, and many vegetables, specifically dark leafy greens, have high folate levels.
3. Nuts and seeds:
There are so many nutrients packed into nuts and seeds that are good for overall health as well as fertility. Walnuts, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, etc. are high in omega-3s, zinc, protein, folate, potassium, and many other nutrients.
4. Fish and liver oils:
Fish and fish oils are one of the few ways to get vitamin D through food. Vitamin D and omega-3 nutrient foods include fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and liver oils found in beef liver and cod liver oil. Plant oils like flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
It’s important that you follow recommended dietary guidelines to ensure adequate consumption of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. No diet will be able to cure infertility or make someone more fertile, but eating healthy nutrients is a great way to support overall health, including sperm health. It’s also recommended to consume fortified foods such as eggs, dairy products, fruit juices, etc. for added nutrients like vitamin D and folate. Be sure to contact your doctor if you have specific questions about your diet.
What foods to avoid for male fertility
Generally it’s recommended to stay away from highly processed foods. Smoking and excessive drinking are also not recommended when trying to conceive as these can lead to impaired sperm and low sperm count. Research has also found that diets rich in red meat, fatty dairy, sweets, and coffee, are associated with poor semen quality and reduced fertility.
Basically, just avoid eating sweets and processed foods in excess and try to stick to a diet full of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, and lean dairy products.
Male fertility is just as important as female fertility when TTC.
Male fertility usually falls in one of four categories: sperm production problems, sperm delivery problems, sexual dysfunction, and other lifestyle and environmental factors.
If a male is able to ejaculate and a sperm analysis shows at least some sperm that are of normal morphology, have some forward progression, good motility, and an average pH between 7.2 and 8.0, fertility is likely to be average or good.
Essential nutrients for male fertility include antioxidants, CoQ10, folate, vitamin D, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Prenatal vitamins for men contain all the essential nutrients needed to support male fertility.
Four recommended foods for supporting male fertility are nuts and seeds, vegetables, fruits, and fish and liver oils.
Diet and nutrition aren’t likely to make someone infertile or fertile, but diet can have a large impact on overall health and sperm health.