Conception problems occur in about 15% of couples and 40% of the time; the man is responsible.
However, compared to female fertility, male fertility is easier to manage as making some healthy lifestyle changes and taking supplements can significantly improve sperm health.
As men age, changes in their hormones occur which could lead to a reduced sperm count, decrease in sperm motility and changes in the integrity of chromosomes that could potentially result in genetic abnormalities.
After age 35, giving your fertility a boost would require lifestyle changes that involve cutting back on alcohol, quitting smoking, regular exercise, enjoying a healthy diet and complementing all that with natural nutritional supplements
While many foods contain the most vital nutrients that can enhance fertility, carefully calculating your intake every day to ensure you’re getting enough can become quite troublesome and time-consuming. Studies have shown that men will generally experience a significant improvement in semen parameters after oral intake of antioxidants. Antioxidants such as L-Carnitine, Selenium and Natural Vitamin E are superior to vitamin C for example. A supplementation with combinations of different antioxidants is correlated with improved sperm parameters.
If you want to improve your fertility, your goal is to increase the L-carnitine in the testes. Multiple placebo-controlled studies have found that carnitines supplementation significantly improves both sperm activity and semen volume.
Green tea is rich in polyphenol flavonoids, mostly known as EGCG protects sperm-producing cells from damage and cell death caused by the environment while promoting healthy male hormone homeostasis. Furthermore, EGCG has an anti-inflammatory capacity which can reduce immune-cell infiltration into seminal fluid thus preventing the potential for adverse effects on sperm function.
Developing evidence suggests that the essential trace mineral, Selenium, plays a significant role in healthy growth and reproduction in humans. Selenium found in food depends on the selenium content of the soil where it was grown, and because of over-farming, food content of selenium is declining. Selenium is essential for the production of the male sex hormone, testosterone, and for the formation and healthy development of sperm. Testicular tissue contains high concentrations of selenium, which helps in protecting sperm cells from oxidative DNA damage. In several studies, infertile men who took selenium supplements experienced improvements in sperm quality and fertility.
Low levels of zinc in seminal plasma are associated with male infertility. Higher levels of zinc in seminal plasma correlate significantly with increased sperm concentration and normal sperm morphology. Indeed, several studies revealed that zinc supplementation could improve sperm concentration, motility, and morphology as well as fertilization capacity.
Antioxidants such as vitamins A, E, Selenium, EGCG, and minerals such as zinc are crucial in maintaining the cellular oxidant-antioxidant balance which when disturbed can lead to a decline in the fertility of both men and women. The oral intake of these vitamins, as well as L-Carnitine, Selenium and Omega 3, can significantly improve semen parameters.
Zinc works with more than 300 enzymes in the body to keep the reproductive system working properly. Zinc is significant to female fertility, but even more for men and an increase in levels of this vital trace mineral in the male body has shown an improvement in both the quantity and quality of sperm.
Low levels of zinc can lead to immature sperm that is underdeveloped and will lack the mobility and strength to make the journey into the uterus from the vagina. It can also result in chromosomal defects in the sperm that could lead to miscarriage despite fertilization and implantation already taking place.
Foods like lean beef, turkey, calf liver, wheat germs, venison, and oysters are high in zinc. To meet your daily zinc requirement, you need a minimum of 15 mg. However, you should be taking between 30 mg to 50 mg of zinc per day if you have struggling sperm.
The significant effects of dietary fatty acids (Omega 3 & Omega 6) on male fertility have been well documented. Both are required for sperm production, as they are part of the sperm cell membrane, and are necessary for successful fertilization. However, today’s diet is richer in Omega 6 compared to Omega 3, and the recommended ratio is 1:1. An imbalance in these fatty acids results in impaired semen quality (count, motility, and morphology) and immune system imbalances which reduce fertility. Supplementation of Omega 3 in males suffering from infertility showed a statistically significant improvement in sperm concentration, motility, and morphology. This effect was correlated with increased levels of Omega 3 in seminal fluid.
Keep in mind that it takes 90 days for the body to produce new sperm. So if you and your partner are planning to make a baby, start making changes to your lifestyle and take supplements at least 3 months before you start trying to ensure that you and your sperm are at their healthiest.