Male Fertility Supplements
If you’re looking for ways to improve your fertility, you’re probably aware that approximately 40-50% of infertility cases are due to male factor infertility issues. Research has shown that up to 2% of all men will exhibit suboptimal semen parameters . If you have undergone a semen analysis and your results indicate that one or more parameter of your semen is suboptimal, don’t fret just yet! This article will discuss the top nutrients in male fertility supplements to increase sperm concentration, motility, morphology, and more. So let’s dig in!
Key Nutrients in Male Fertility Supplements
As science and research have become abundantly available, displaying the benefits of certain nutrients on male fertility, many different supplement lines and brands have emerged. This can make the process of choosing male fertility supplements extremely arduous. To make it a little easier, we have included the nutrients you should be on the lookout for below. Be sure to check the label and product description when selecting supplements to ensure you’re getting everything you need.
Getting enough Zinc is essential to maintaining and improving male fertility. Studies have shown that men with low zinc levels or deficiency are more likely to suffer from low testosterone and poor sperm quality resulting in reduced male fertility . Low zinc levels can have many causes, including improper nutrition. Approximately 17% of the world’s population is at risk of inadequate zinc intake . Men who participate in intense workouts or who over-exercise are at a heightened risk for low zinc.
Fortunately, research has shown that taking zinc supplements can help to increase testosterone levels and the sperm quality of men with low zinc . The current recommended daily allowance for men is 11 mg of zinc. Doctors recommend that men suffering from zinc deficiency take two to three times that amount of zinc daily. Fertility specialists recommend that men struggling to conceive take anywhere from 20-30 mg of zinc daily.
Folate is the active form of folic acid, which is important because some people lack the gene required to convert folic acid into folate. Folate is essential for male fertility because it plays a vital role in spermatogenesis, the development of sperm cells . Folate is required for DNA to synthesize properly during DNA replication. Sperm DNA undergoes many replications during development and proper folate levels are necessary to ensure sperm DNA synthesizes correctly.
If folate levels are low, sperm can replicate incorrectly, causing impaired semen quality . It is recommended that healthy men get at least 400 mcg of folate per day to prevent a deficiency. If men are diagnosed as folate deficient, or if they are trying to conceive, they should get even more folate per day.
Folate can be found naturally in many foods, but supplementing folate can ensure you maintain adequate levels to support semen development. Fertility specialists recommend that men who are trying to conceive get upwards of 1000 mcg of folate daily. This can be extremely difficult through diet alone, so be sure the male fertility supplements you choose have an adequate amount of folate.
Omega 3s (EPA & DHA)
Omega 3s play a vital role in the structure and formation of all human cells, including sperm. As such, it is important to ensure proper omega 3 levels whether you are trying to conceive or if you are just trying to stay healthy. Omega 3s can be found naturally in foods like fish and other seafood. Studies have shown that a large percentage of the U.S. population does not meet the recommended daily allowance for omega 3s. The instance is even higher in the male population . So if you don’t eat a lot of fish, you should certainly consider an omega 3 supplement.
Supplementing omega 3s can have many benefits including; improving sperm motility, morphology, and enhancing sperm count Fertility specialists believe that men suffering from oligoasthenoteratozoospermia aka OAT (low number of sperm, poor sperm movement, and abnormal sperm shape) may specifically benefit from an omega-3 supplement. OAT is one of the most common cause of male subfertility.
Most health organizations recommend that adults consume a minimum of 250 to 500 mg of omega 3s daily. Doctors recommend that men suffering from certain health conditions, including infertility, attain higher amounts of omega 3s daily. Research indicates that when men are trying to improve their fertility, they should take a daily dose of 1500-2000 mg of combined EPA + DHA for a 3 month period. When you take supplements with less than that recommended amount of Omega 3s, the maximum benefit is not achieved.
Please be aware, many fish oil capsules will advertise 1000mg, but only contain about 300mg of EPA +DHA.
Coenzyme Q10 (Co-Q10)
Recent research has shown that men suffering from infertility issues can benefit from taking a Co-Q10 supplement. Supplementing Co-Q10 can help to improve several semen parameters, including; sperm concentration, count, and motility . CoQ10 supplementation has been found to specifically help infertile men suffering from asthenozoospermia or poor sperm motility Experts believe this is due to CoQ10s antioxidant properties and its contribution to cell energy production.
Co-Q10 is naturally produced by the human body and helps to generate energy in human cells. The recommended daily allowance for Co-Q10 is typically between 90 and 200 mg. Although men suffering from infertility or other conditions may require higher doses in the 300 to 600 mg range. Co-Q10 is considered a well-tolerated and safe supplement, so there is less of a concern for taking too much, as there may be with other nutrients.
Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALC)
Similar to Co-Q10, ALC is another nutrient that is produced naturally by the body. ALC plays a pivotal role in the maturation of sperm within the male reproductive tract. ALC helps to drive sperm metabolism by providing readily available energy that is used for motility and maturation. Research has shown that supplementing ACL can help to improve sperm motility and improve overall male fertility . Most of the research regarding ALC indicates that it is most effective in improving sperm motility. So if you have undergone a semen analysis and your motility levels were suboptimal, you definitely want to ensure the male fertility supplements you choose contain ALC.
Research has also shown that ALC has a positive impact on sperm morphology . In a study of infertile males, ALC supplementation was found to improve all sperm parameters, with the greatest effect on motility .
The standard dose of ALC is between 500 and 2000 mg daily. When taking ALC, be sure to consult with your doctor if you experience nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps. In rare cases, taking too much ALC can cause muscle weakness in seizures in patients with preexisting seizure disorders.
Vitamins C and E
Vitamin C is an antioxidant known to boost the immune system and reduce cellular damage throughout the body, protecting your overall health. In one study, infertile men were administered 1,000-mg of vitamin C twice a day for two months. Participants in the study saw a 92% increase in sperm motility and more than a 100% increase in their sperm count . The study displayed that vitamin C supplementation may improve sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm morphology ( a 55% decrease in deformed sperm cells was observed after treatment.)
Vitamin E is also known to support your overall health and to protect your body against reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can cause chronic diseases and inflammation. Inflammation caused by ROS has been shown to negatively affect male fertility . New research has shown that antioxidants like vitamins C and E can help counteract the effects of ROS and improve semen quality. Fertility specialists advocate for vitamin E supplementation for general male infertility treatment and idiopathic male infertility, which is when men have an unexplained reduction of semen quality. Recent studies have shown that men can increase their sperm motility by taking a vitamin E supplement . Supplementing vitamin E can also help treat men diagnosed with asthenoteratospermia (abnormal motility and morphology of sperm) or asthenospermia (reduced sperm motility) .
The recommended daily allowance for vitamins C and E for men is 90mg and 15mg, respectively. As with the other nutrients discussed in this article, if you are diagnosed as deficient for either vitamin or if you are trying to improve your semen parameters, you should increase your daily consumption. We recommend at least 300 mg of vitamin C daily and at least 100 mg of vitamin E for your best chance of improving your fertility.
Shilajit is a naturally occurring substance that is found in high mountain rocks, primarily in the Himalayas. Shilajit is considered a safe supplement that can have many health benefits, including improving male fertility. Shilajit has been associated with improving both sperm count and sperm motility. In one study of infertile men, shilajit helped to increase the total sperm count of 60% of participants . 12% of participants in the study also showed a significant increase in their sperm’s motility. Shilajit has also been researched to measure its effects on improving testosterone levels. In one study, participants were given either a shilajit supplement or a placebo daily for 90 days. The participants that received the shilajit displayed a significant increase in testosterone levels compared to the placebo group .
As previously mentioned, shilajit is considered a safe supplement with many different health benefits. In addition to improving male fertility, shilajit can help to combat Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue syndrome, aging, high altitude sickness, and more. There is not much consensus within the scientific community regarding the recommended daily allowance for shilajit. Since shilajit does contain iron, taking too much could potentially cause iron poisoning or more serious conditions like liver failure. As such, we recommend a moderate dose of shilajit daily at 100mg. As with any natural supplements or medications, be sure to consult with a medical professional if you have questions or concerns.
D-Aspartic Acid (D-AA)
Research indicates that D-AA can help to improve overall male fertility, especially for men with low testosterone levels. D-AA can be found in testicular glands as well as in sperm and semen cells. Studies have shown that D-AA levels are significantly lower in men suffering from infertility when compared to fertile males . That is one of the main reasons that scientists believe D-AA is associated with male infertility.
Other studies have shown that D-AA supplementation can help to increase testosterone levels in males who have infertility. In one study, participants that receive a D-AA supplement over a 2 week period saw a 42% increase in testosterone levels .
Like shilajit and some of the other nutrients included in this list, there isn’t a consensus on a proper recommended daily dosage within the scientific community. However, there is research available that shows taking higher dosages of D-AA does not produce better results. We recommend taking around 100 mg of D-AA daily for 3 months for the best results.
Maca is a plant that grows in the Andes mountains of Peru. Maca is a popular plant food discovered in the late 1980s and is known to increase libido and sexual performance. Research also supports using maca to improve fertility, erectile function, sperm count, and motility. In one study, men who took maca every day for 3 months saw increased sperm count and motility .
Several other studies have shown that taking maca for up to 3 months can help to increase sexual desire and libido in men . Maca is considered safe for most people to consume. We recommend a dosage of 100mg daily for best results with improving semen quality and sexual function.
Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb with multiple known health benefits that has been used for centuries throughout India. Research has shown that ashwagandha can help to boost testosterone levels along with improving other aspects of male fertility.
In one study, researchers reviewed the effects of ashwagandha on males diagnosed with low sperm counts. Participants in the study received 675 mg of ashwagandha daily for a three month period. The participant’s sperm counts increased by 167%, semen volume by 53%, and sperm motility by 57%, compared to their values at the start of the study . Additional observational studies exist to support the findings of this research on sperm parameters, and they also indicate ashwagandha can improve testosterone levels and antioxidant status .
Ashwagandha is not produced naturally by the body, nor is it found in any of the foods you commonly eat. Ashwagandha is a small shrub grown in the Middle East, India, and parts of Africa. So unless you have access to an ashwagandha plant, you will need to rely on supplements to reap the benefits.
NAC is used by the body to produce antioxidants, which help to repair and protect cells from damage. NAC does not have an established recommended daily allowance because it is not considered an essential nutrient. NAC is believed to help improve health in many ways, so it has been studied for a number of uses. The supplements we recommend contain 100 mg of NAC, which is considered both a safe and effective dosage.
Studies have shown that NAC can help to improve several sperm parameters and the antioxidant status of infertile men. In one study, 50 infertile men were treated with NAC for a 3 month period. After treatment, a significant increase in sperm count and motility was observed . Other studies have confirmed these results and have shown that NAC can also improve other sperm parameters as well. In a study of 120 infertile males that were treated with NAC, participants saw a significant improvement in the volume, motility, and viscosity of their semen . Researchers believe that NAC improves sperm parameters by reducing the total number of harmful reactive oxygen species.
Selenium is a mineral that functions as an antioxidant and helps decrease damage from free radicals, similar to many other nutrients included in this article. When combined with other vitamins, like vitamin E, selenium has been shown to improve sperm motility in addition to reducing the number of harmful free radicals. Selenium is also important for several reproductive functions including testosterone metabolism .
In one study, when subfertile patients were treated with selenium, they saw a significant increase in sperm motility . The results of this study have been confirmed by additional research, which showed that selenium supplementation could help to significantly improve sperm motility in subfertile men . The recommended daily allowance for selenium for men over the age of 19 is 55 mcg. Men who are taking selenium to improve their fertility can benefit from higher doses in the 100 mcg range.
Best Male Fertility Supplements
When selecting the best male fertility supplements for you, be sure to look for products with a wide range of ingredients. As discussed in this article, many nutrients work together and provide similar benefits. When taking supplements that contain multiple different nutrients, you may experience heightened improvement in several aspects of your fertility. For example, many of the nutrients discussed in this article either are or function as antioxidants. When antioxidants are used in combination, they reduce more harmful free radicals than if used independently. In the case of Omega 3 supplements, be sure they contain both EPA and DHA.
Bioavailable & Trademarked Nutrients
Many male fertility supplements include different forms of the ingredients included in this article. When evaluating different supplement products, look for trademarked ingredients as an indicator of quality. Trademarked ingredients are backed by science and are registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office. As such, they typically have more clinical research behind them in support of their safety and effectiveness. Specific to male fertility supplements, trademarked items usually indicate that the ingredients are more bioavailable, meaning they are more easily absorbed by the body, increasing their effectiveness.
If you’re looking for supplements that include proper doses of all of the ingredients above, then look no further. Our team of leading experts in the fertility field has developed a line of science-backed, independently tested products loaded with premium ingredients. Head over to Molecular Fertility and check out our line of Male Fertility Supplements.
A semen analysis yielding sub-optimal results is not the end of the world. We hope that this guide will help you to find the best male fertility supplements for you. Please be aware that sperm take approximately 80 days to go through their entire developmental process. As such, doctors recommend starting male fertility supplements approximately 90 days (3 months) before trying to conceive either naturally or while using reproductive technologies.
In addition to ensuring adequate levels of the nutrients discussed in this article, several other remedies can help improve your semen quality and overall fertility. Check out our guide on boosting male fertility for information on how making lifestyle, dietary and other changes along with taking medications and undergoing holistic treatments can increase your chances of conceiving.