Last updated: March 7th, 2018 at 08:17 pm

DIETARY & SUPPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HEALTHY SPERM:

“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food” –Hippocrates

Eating the foods suggested below is the natural way to increase your health, vitality and fertility. Supplementation of these nutrients is a reliable way of increasing your intake. Both eating and supplementation together is ideal for ensuring adequate levels of these nutrients.

1. Anti-oxidants


Anti-oxidants help protect your body from free radical damage to the cells in your entire body. Around 40% of sperm damage is thought to be caused by these free-oxidising radicals. Anti-oxidants can help combat these negative effects.
Food sources: Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, plums, garlic, broccoli, red peppers, kale, brussel sprouts and alfalfa sprouts.

2. Amino acids- L-arginine


These are the building blocks of life and are necessary for egg and sperm production. (note: Some healthcare practitioners will prescribe amino acids such as l-arginine to enhance fertility-do not take this is if you have the herpes virus as it can cause outbreaks).
Food sources: Meats, fish, eggs and dairy produce, lentils, peas, beans, nuts, brown rice, quinoa, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

3. Vitamin A


This is essential for the production of male sex hormones. It is also important for the upkeep of the semeniferous tubules. A deficiency in this vitamin has been shown to reduce sperm volume and count and increase abnormal sperm.
Food sources: Eggs, yellow fruits & vegetables, whole milk & milk products, dark green leafy vegetables and oily fish.

4. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)


This is essential for the formation of male sex hormones. A deficiency of B6 has been shown to cause infertility in animals. B6 must be taken together with zinc because zinc is needed for the absorption of B6.
Food sources: Whole grains, nuts, brown rice, organ and other meats, egg yolks, fish, poultry, pulses, seeds, green leafy vegetables, molasses and brewer’s yeast.

5. Vitamin B12


B12 and folate are needed for the synthesis of DNA and RNA. These make up the blueprint for the genetic code of the entire body. Low levels can cause abnormal sperm production, reduced sperm counts and reduced sperm motility.
Food sources: The only reliable sources of B12 are animal products, in particular lamb, sardines and salmon.

6. Folate (Folic acid)


This is needed for sperm production, count, motility and low morphological abnormalities. Vitamin C aids the absorption of folate.
Food sources: Dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, organ meats, brewer’s yeast, root vegetables, whole grains, oysters, salmon, milk, pulses, asparagus, oatmeal, dried figs and avocados.

7. Vitamin C


This is needed for the production of healthy sperm. It can increase the count and motility of sperm and has been shown to reduce the clumping of sperm. Low vitamin C levels have been linked with an increase in birth defects.
Food sources: Citrus fruits, cherries, cantaloupe melon, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet peppers, black currants, mangoes, grapes, kiwi, pineapples, asparagus, peas, potatoes, parsley, watercress, spinach & alfalfa sprouts.

8. Vitamin E- d-alpha-tocopherol


There are high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids found in sperm cell membranes and vitamin E helps to protect them from free radical damage. Vitamin E may also help the sperm penetrate the egg. A deficiency of vitamin E leads to permanent degeneration of testicular tissues. Vitamin E also has anticoagulant properties. Note: supplement of the natural (d-alpha-tocopherol) as opposed to the synthetic (dl-alpha-tocopherol) is more easily utilised and retained in the body for longer.
Food sources: Cold pressed oils, wheat germ, organ meats, eggs, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, avocados and molasses.

9. Selenium


This is needed to properly shape sperm and to maintain count. Deficiency may cause infertility. There are cells with a high lipid (fat) content in semen and selenium helps to protect them from free radical damage. It may also have a key role in the proper functioning of the epididymis (which is related to sperm maturation and motility).
Food sources: Tuna, herring, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, bran, whole grains and sesame seeds.

10. Manganese


A deficiency may cause testicular degeneration, congenital malformations, sterility, low sex drive, low sperm count, an increase in the number of cells that degenerate in the epididymis and inhibition of the synthesis of sex hormones. Note: Manganese competes with iron for absorption, it is advisable to take it with vitamin C and protein foods.
Food sources: Whole grains, green leafy vegetables, carrots, broccoli, ginger, pulses, nuts, pineapples, eggs, oats & rye.

11. Zinc


This is the most critical trace element mineral for male sexual function. It is needed for testosterone metabolism, testicle growth, sperm production, motility, count, reducing excess oestrogen in male reproductive tissue. Deficiencies of zinc are quite common. Zinc is important for cell division and the production of healthy sperm.. Every time a man ejaculates he loses about 5mg of zinc. Alcohol depletes zinc. Vitamin B6 and C may aid in the absorption of zinc. The following may inhibit the absorption of zinc: folic acid, tea, coffee, high fibre intake and iron.
Food sources: Lean meat, fish, seafood, chicken, eggs, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, rye, oats, whole grains, pulses, ginger root, parsley, mushrooms, brewer’s yeast and wheat germ.

12. Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10)


This is important for energy production because Co-Q10 assists with the mitochondrial functions of your body’s cells-this means it provides power to all your body’s functions. It is found in every cell in the human body. CoQ10 is present in large amounts in seminal fluid. It gives sperm energy (along with fructose) and increases sperm motility. It also improves blood flow and fertilisation rates may rise when taking this supplement.
Food sources: It is extremely difficult to obtain sufficient amounts of Co-Q10 from food sources. Supplementation is a reliable way of increasing your intake.

13. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s: Omega 3 DHA and 6)


The EFA’s DHA act as hormone regulators and are very important when trying to conceive. Sperm contain high concentrations of Omega 3 EFA’s particularly DHA. Most DHA is in the sperm tail and is thought to play a role in motility. Omega 3 DHA and Omega 6 are important structural elements of cell membranes, body tissue and brain development in a foetus.
Food sources: Mackerel, herring, salmon or sardines.

14. Maca (look for it in health shops).


Advice from a qualified nutritionist should be sought before taking any supplements to rule out contraindications based on medical history or other factors.