Natural Sperm Supplements
Herbalists and practitioners of alternative medicine will swear to you that natural fertility supplements help boost a man's sperm count and sperm quality. Medics and practitioners of conventional medicine will tell you that natural fertility supplements may help, but that as of yet, there is no hard and fast proof that they do. In this article we aim to provide you with a summary of the facts and let you decide for yourself. Particularly if you or your male partner are undergoing conventional fertility treatment, it's essential that you speak to your fertility specialist before taking any natural supplements or making any drastic changes to your diet. The body is a sensitive machine and the effects of dietary changes on your medical treatment may be unpredictable.
Supplements For Sperm
Vitamin C – vitamin C is said to enhance sperm quality by protecting sperm cells and the DNA they contain from damage. This vitamin is also thought to stop sperm cells clumping together. This increases the sperm's ability to swim ("motility") which increases a man's fertility by enabling the sperm to reach his partner's egg.
Vitamin E – vitamin E has been given to the partners of women undergoing IVF treatment. This vitamin is said to have increased IVF fertilization rates among men who have used it and is therefore believed to have a beneficial effect on sperm.
L-Arginine - L-Arginine is an amino acid found in large quantities in the heads of sperm cells. This amino acid plays a crucial role in the development of healthy sperm. It is said to increase both sperm count and sperm quality.
L-Carnitine – also an amino acid, L- Carnitine is thought to boost a man's sperm count and help him produce healthy, high-quality sperm.
Selenium – selenium is an antioxidant thought to boost the formation of sperm cells. Low levels of selenium have, in the past, been detected in men who also had low sperm counts.
Zinc – zinc is a mineral found in high concentrations in sperm cells. Zinc plays an important role in building the outer layer and tail of every sperm cell. Studies have found that reducing a man's consumption of zinc may reduce his sperm count.
Do Supplements Work?
Medical experts say research on the effects of natural fertility supplements for sperm is limited and inconclusive. Studies which have been carried out have produced the following results, some of which appear contradictory:
- Increasing L-Arginine and L-Carnitine levels in the diet of the male participants of one study increased the rate of pregnancies among the partners of these men.
- In another study, taking vitamin E increased the fertilization rate among men with low sperm counts when compared to other study participants who took a placebo.
- Another study found that increasing consumption of vitamins E and C and selenium did not boost the sperm count or quality of the study's participants. So, as you can see, the interpretation of these results is really up to you. You should, however, consult your fertility specialist for an expert opinion.
Natural Supplement Sources
The good news is that all the natural fertility supplements for men listed above can be easily sourced from everyday foods. Even better, many of these natural supplements can be found in healthy food sources, and we all know that healthy diet plays an important role in fertility treatment.
Vitamin C – fruit and vegetables are the best source of vitamin C, especially: peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, sweet potato, oranges and kiwi fruits. Recommended dosage for men is 40 mg per day. Vitamin C can also be taken in pill form.
Vitamin E – found in plant oils (soya, corn, olive oil) and in nuts, seeds, wheatgerm. Recommended dosage is 4 mg per day for men. Vitamin E can also be taken as a pill.
L-Arginine – this amino acid is found in protein rich foods such as red meat. Healthier sources include: nuts, coconuts, seafood, cereals, soybean and chickpea. L-Arginine is also found in chocolate!
L-Carnitine – L-Carnitine is found in red meat and dairy foods. Other sources are: nuts and seeds, legumes, pulses, artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, garlic, parsley, apricots, bananas and cereals.
Selenium – found in Brazil nuts, bread, fish, meat and eggs. The recommended daily dosage for men is 0.075 mg.
Zinc – found in meat, shellfish, milk and other dairy foods, bread and cereals. The recommended daily dosage is between 5.5 mg and 9.5 mg for men.