How to Increase Sperm Motility
We discuss various nutrients and dietary supplements in this article that may or may not be helpful. If you purchase recommended products, services, or treatments, it may benefit CNY Fertility financially. Read more about our financial relationships here. The supplements discussed in this article are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, take any medications, or have been diagnosed with a medical condition, consult with a healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement.
Simply put, sperm motility refers to the ability of sperm to move or “swim.” Healthy sperm move forward with a progression of at least 25 micrometers per second.
However, for many of us, our sperm just aren’t as healthy as they should be so if you’re sitting there wondering how to increase your sperm motility, don’t fret just yet.
There are indeed many natural ways you can support healthy sperm motility. In this article, we will dig into the foods to eat, supplements to take, and lifestyle changes you can make to support healthy sperm motility.
- The WHO quantifies sperm as healthy if roughly 40-81% of sperm are motile and 32-75% show progressive (straight line) motility.
- Various foods like beef, liver, salmon, oysters and specific nutrients including Carnitine, Ashwagandha, Vitamin C, CoQ10, and Omega 3 Fatty Acids have been shown to support healthy sperm motility.
- Various lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol, sleep, and more have been found to have an impact on sperm motility.
- Sperm take approximately 60-90 days to develop. As such, it is best to stick with any dietary and lifestyle changes for 90+ days to see the best results.
What is Sperm Motility?
Sperm motility is a measure of how well sperm move with forward progression. For traditional pregnancy to occur, sperm must wiggle and swim through a woman’s cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes to reach the egg. Naturally, sperm motility is one of several parameters measured in a semen analysis used to measure sperm health.
If a high percentage of a man’s sperm don’t move forward efficiently, the chances of sperm reaching the egg and fertilization occurring are lower. A lower chance of fertilization equates to lower chances of achieving pregnancy.
Normal Sperm Motility
In a man with normal fertility, one ejaculate of semen contains 10s of millions of sperm. However, not all of those sperm are expected to be completely healthy.
For an ejaculated sample to be considered normal, at least 40% of the sperm should be moving in some regard and at least 32% of the sperm should show progressive straight line motility.
Foods to Improve Sperm Motility
Food is the foundation of human health. And sperm health is no different.
One of the best ways to ensure you give your sperm the nutrients they need to be healthy and thrive is by following a high fat, low carb, fertility diet and loading up on specific foods for healthy sperm motility:
- Brazil Nuts
Those foods help support healthy sperm motility because they are loaded with specific vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that have been shown in numerous studies to improve sperm motility.
Below are some of the key nutrients found in these foods (and some bonus nutrients/supplements) that contribute to their motility supporting effects.
Nutrients to Help Support Healthy Sperm Motility
L -carnitine plays a pivotal role in sperm metabolism. Carnitine provides readily available energy for spermatozoa (male gametes) and helps counteract oxidative stress, both of which are important for healthy sperm motility.
At this time, numerous studies have shown that L-carnitine can help support male reproductive health through its positive impact on sperm motility. . While carnitine has shown to be most effective at supporting sperm motility, it has been shown to support other aspects of sperm health as well.
Beef is one of the best sources of Carnitine.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Coenzyme Q10 is produced by the human body and helps generate energy in human cells.
Several studies have shown that CoQ10 supplementation can significantly improve sperm motility levels. .
Researchers believe that CoQ10 is effective at supporting healthy sperm motility due to its antioxidant properties and its contribution to cell energy production.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is known to support cellular integrity throughout the body.
One study showed that men taking vitamin C supplements twice a day for 2 months increased sperm motility by 92% .
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects our cells against free radicals and improves the function of other antioxidants. Research has shown that supplementing a combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, and CoQ10 can effectively increase semen parameters in men.
On its own, vitamin E is only so effective, but it improves the function of other antioxidants and nutrients, which produces a greater effect on sperm motility.
Selenium is a mineral that functions as an antioxidant and helps decrease damage from free radicals. Selenium acts similarly to L-carnitine, Co Q10, and vitamins C and E in the way it helps to decrease damage from free radicals. Selenium is vital for several male reproductive functions. When it is combined with vitamin E, it has been shown to significantly improve sperm motility .
Omega 3s play a vital role in the structure and formation of all human cells, including sperm. Omega 3s can be found naturally in foods like fish and other seafood. Studies have shown that a large percentage of the U.S. male population does not meet the recommended daily allowance for omega 3s . As such, fish oil and other omega 3 supplements are beneficial to improve sperm motility and overall male fertility .
Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb with multiple known benefits for male fertility. Ashwagandha can help to improve testosterone levels, antioxidant status, sperm count, volume, and motility.
In one study, researchers gave men with poor sperm quality 675 mg of ashwagandha daily for three month. . On day 90, the men who supplemented with Ashwagandha showed a 57% increase in sperm motility compared to their baseline levels.
In the study, the men’s motility levels increased from 18.6% at baseline to 29.9% after three months of supplementation. Several other studies have also shown that ashwagandha can improve male fertility and sperm motility .
Ashwagandha is not produced naturally by the body, nor is it found in any of the foods you commonly eat. Unless you have access to an ashwagandha plant (small shrub grown in the Middle East, India, and Africa), you will need to rely on supplements to reap the benefits.
Shilajit is a naturally occurring substance that is considered safe to be taken as a supplement and is reported to have many different benefits for male fertility. In one study, men who supplemented with shilajit for 90 days saw up to a 17.4% increase in their sperm motility .
Maca root is similar to ashwagandha in that it comes from a plant. Maca root is known to have several positive effects on male fertility like improving libido and sexual performance .
A recent study found that maca can also improve semen parameters, especially sperm motility . Researchers tested the participants’ semen throughout the 12-week study. They found that sperm motility showed a rising trend throughout and concluded that maca possesses fertility-enhancing properties for men.
Recommended Supplements for Healthy Sperm Motility
All of the supplements recommended below are from our own line of Fertility Supplements, Molecular Fertility. Our team of endocrinologists formulated Molecular Fertility Supplements to specifically help support sperm motility and overall sperm health.
When selecting the best male fertility supplements to improve sperm motility, be sure to look for products with a wide range of ingredients. As mentioned in this article, many nutrients work together, and when combined, they provide optimal results. At CNY Fertility, we recommend Molecular Fertility’s Male Preconception+ which includes a hefty dose of Carnitine, Selenium, Vitamins C and E, ashwagandha, shilajit, maca, and many more vitamins and nutrients known to improve male fertility.
High Potency VIVOMEGA Fish Oil
There is often a concern when taking fish oil supplements regarding their purity, potential heavy metal exposure, and oxidation. Simply put, not all fish oil products are made the same. Molecular Fertility’s VIVOMEGA Fish Oil is comprised of over 2000 mg of omega-three per serving (7 times the standard). It is also comprised of non-GMO natural fish oils that shatter the highest international purity standards.
If you prefer to take a separate CoQ10 supplement, you want to look for a product that contains the most absorbable and bioavailable form. Molecular Fertiltiy’s Co Q10 supplements contain a technologically advanced VESIsorb® delivery system which has been demonstrated to significantly increase CoQ10 absorbability and bioavailability. The patented nutrient delivery system is clinically shown to have 6 times the absorption and bioavailability of traditional CoQ10. By increasing the absorption and bioavailability of CoQ10, these supplements produce faster and better results.
Lifestyle Changes to Improve Sperm Motility
Eating right and taking supplements aren’t the only way to support healthy sperm motility. There are many choices you can make throughout your daily routine and eventually incorporate as lifestyle changes to improve your motility and overall fertility. It likely comes as no surprise that a man’s fertility health and overall health are strongly correlated. By following the same guidelines we know to improve overall health, you can significantly improve your sperm motility.
Alcohol consumption can cause many changes to a man’s fertility, including shrinking the testes, changes to the shape, size, and movement of sperm, and lower testosterone levels. Alcohol has been shown to have a significant effect on sperm movement, straight-line velocity, and other factors that influence sperm’s motility .
Sperm take up to 80 or so days to develop, so if you want to improve the motility of your sperm and chances of having a baby, consider cutting back on alcohol consumption three months prior to trying to conceive.
Smoking is flat-out bad for your overall health and nearly all parameters of sperm, including motility. Research has shown that smoking is highly correlated with decreased sperm motility . In one study, men who smoked had an average of 16.6% less motile sperm when compared to their non-smoking counterparts . Researchers believe that the toxins that enter your body during smoking are responsible for the decrease in sperm motility.
When combined with alcohol, smoking has an even greater effect on sperm motility and other sperm parameters .
Light Exercise, Not Too Intense
Exercise is great for supporting overall and fertility healthy, but did you know too much or too intense of exercise can actually be harmful? Research indicates that sperm motility is progressively affected as intensity and volume of exercise increase .
Light exercise on the other hand, like yoga or stretching, is extremely beneficial for male fertility. It can help improve circulation and blood flow to the male reproductive system, which improves sperm development and sperm motility.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential to supporting our overall health, so it’s not surprising that it also affects fertility. Getting insufficient or poor-quality sleep have both been linked to low sperm motility . If you want to get your swimmers swimming and improve your sperm motility, you have to get enough sleep! Ensure you are getting 7-8 hours a night of good quality and restful sleep
The Bottom Line on Supporting Healthy Sperm Motility
Sperm motility is a measure of a sperm’s ability to move in a progressive straight motion. As you can imagine, sperm motility is a critical aspect of the normal function of sperm and the ability of sperm to fertilize an egg.
While there are many potential reasons sperm motility isn’t what it should be, the good news is there is a plethora of foods you can eat, supplements you can take, and lifestyle changes you can make to support healthy sperm motility.