Nutrition tips to improve sperm quality

Nutrition tips to improve sperm quality

Sperm quality is affected by a number of lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, too much exercise and temperature, and a poor diet can also have a negative impact. We thought we’d provide you with a few nutrition tips that may help to improve sperm quality.

Try to include the following into your everyday diet:

Essential fatty acids

Sperm contains large amounts of DHA, the omega 3 fatty acid, with the majority being found in the tail, so omega 3’s are of great importance to improve sperm quality, especially its motility. In a study that evaluated the relationship between dietary fats and semen quality in 99 men, the outcomes showed that a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids was positively correlated with sperm morphology. In another trial, 238 infertile men received 1.84 g of EPA and DHA daily or placebo for 32 weeks; in the omega-3 study group there was a significant improvement in total sperm count and sperm density.

Good sources: Try to consume oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines two or three times a week.

Amino acids                                                        

These protein building blocks help to boost sperm quantity and quality and can be found in lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs and legumes.  The amino acid L-arginine is especially important and can help to boost blood circulation. Once in the body, amino acids are converted to nitric acid, which dilates blood vessels and improves circulation. Better circulation to the groin boosts sperm health and increases sperm motility. L-carnitine is an amino acid that reduces inflammation of the prostate, seminal vesicles and epididymis and enhances sperm motility.

Good sources:
Consume foods rich in L-arginine, such as fish, poultry, dairy products and red meat.
Consume foods rich in L-carnitine such as pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, nuts and granola.

Antioxidants

Free-oxidizing radicals can cause up to 40% of sperm damage so a diet rich in Vitamins A, C, E, zinc and selenium is vital to protect the sperm, reduce clumping, abnormalities and increase motility.

Good sources: Citrus fruit, strawberries, peppers, blueberries, green leafy vegetables and almonds.

Zinc

Zinc is a key nutrient for the production of healthy sperm, boosting motility and for helping to remove excess oestrogen from the body (high levels of which is linked to low sperm count), and is commonly lacking is most people’s diets. Zinc is also a powerful antioxidant.

Good sources: Eggs, poultry, crab, lobster, nuts, seeds, dairy products and red meat. 

CoQ10

This is a powerful antioxidant helping to protect sperm and increase its motility. According to research, the amount of CoQ10 in the seminal fluid of men has a correlation to their sperm count and sperm motility.

Good sources: Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, organ meats, beef, sardines and mackerel. 

Vitamin B12

This vitamin helps to improve sperm quality by increasing sperm count.  Vitamin B12, along with folic acid, is also important for the formation, maturation and duplicating of DNA, which is the genetic information within all cells, including sperm.

Good sources: Oysters, lobster, beef, lamb and eggs.

Folic acid

Low levels of folate in diets have been linked to an increase in sperm abnormalities. When sperm with abnormal chromosomes fertilize an egg, it may result in miscarriage or birth defects. More than half of first-trimester miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo.

Good sources: Green leafy vegetables, oranges, lentils, peas, sweetcorn and asparagus. 

 

Extra reading:

Safarinejad MR, Safarinejad S. The roles of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in idiopathic male infertility. Asian J Androl 2012;14(4):514-515.

Vitamin D supplements could improve fertility:  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170523084302.htm