Trying to Have a Baby? Get Up Off the Couch—7 Supplements to Enhance Male Fertility

Monday Jun 17 | BY |
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Sitting Infertility

Men who watch TV for three hours or more a day could suffer from reduced fertility.

According to the Mayo Clinic, about 15 percent of couples are infertile. Potential causes of male infertility include illnesses, injuries, health problems, and now, according to a new study—too much time spent sitting around.

Research from Harvard University showed that young men who watched too much television had only half the sperm count of men who rarely watched. If you and your partner are trying to have a baby, it’s time to get active—and try some of these other natural fertility enhancers.

What the Study Found

The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) analyzed the semen quality of 189 men between the ages of 18 and 20 who were participating in the Rochester Young Men’s study during 2009-2010 at the University of Rochester.

The men completed surveys, answering questions about their time spent watching TV, DVDs, or videos over the previous three months, in addition to their diet, stress levels, exercise, smoking habits, and other daily activities that could affect fertility. The results showed the following:

  • Those who watched 20 hours or more of television per week had a sperm count almost half that of men watching the least television.
  • Men who exercised for 15 or more hours weekly at a moderate to vigorous rate had a 73 percent higher sperm count than those who exercised less than five hours per week.
  • Mild exercise had no effect on fertility.

Why would TV-watching affect fertility? Researchers weren’t sure, but they theorized that sitting for long periods may heat up the testicles for too long, reducing sperm count in the same way that wearing tight underwear does. Meanwhile, exercise protects against oxidative stress and increases circulation, both of which may be protective for fertility.

Natural Ways to Enhance Male Fertility

Most healthcare organizations define infertility as being unable to conceive after 6 months to one year of unprotected intercourse. If you and your partner are having trouble getting pregnant, it’s best to see your doctor to identify what may be stopping you.

In the meantime, men can avoid the standard things thought to lower sperm count, like exposure to chemicals, hot baths, tight-fitting underwear, smoking, and too much alcohol. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a healthy diet will also help.

In addition to the basics, the following natural tips may help raise sperm count and increase the odds of creating a new little life.

  1. Vitamin C: Try to get between 2,000 and 6,000 mg a day from the diet and supplements to help encourage healthy sperm.
  2. Vitamin B-12: Studies suggest that a vitamin B-12 deficiency can reduce sperm motility and sperm count. A 2002 study found that men who received folic acid (5 mg) and zinc (66 mg) each day increased their total sperm count. Make sure your intake is adequate.
  3. Zinc: Make sure you’re getting between 100 to 200 mg daily to increase testosterone levels, sperm count, and sperm mobility. Eat more oysters, lean meats, herring, wheat germ, legumes and nuts.
  4. Arginine: A natural amino acid, it helps the body produce protein, and is found in large amounts in sperm. Eat more nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews), spinach, lentils, whole grains, and seafood.
  5. CoQ10: Studies found that in men with fertility issues, 60 mg/day of CoQ10 increased sperm mobility and increased fertilization rates.
  6. Astragalus: A 1992 study found that astragalus (10 mg/ml) significantly increased the motiility of sperm, which could increase male fertility.
  7. Omega-3 fatty acids: You’ll find these in fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseed, as well as in evening primrose oil. They help support sperm membrane fluidity. A 2010 study found that men who took omega-3s daily—including EPA and DHA—experienced a significant improvement in sperm cell total count.

Do you have other tips for enhancing fertility? Please share.

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Sources
Jenny Hope, “Watching TV for too long ‘cuts male fertility by half’. Study shows laziness leads to a drop in sperm quality,” Daily Mail, February 4, 2013, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2273566/Watching-TV-long-cuts-male-fertility-half-Study-shows-laziness-leads-drop-sperm-quality.html.

Giancarlo Balercia, et al., “Coenzyme Q10 supplementation in infertile men with idiopathic asthenozoospermia: an open, uncontrolled pilot study,” Fertility and Sterility, January 2004; 81(1): 93-98, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0015028203022441.

C.Y. Hong, et al., “Astragalus Membranaceus Stimulates Human Sperm Motility In Vitro,” The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 1992; 20(03n04): 289, http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/10.1142/S0192415X92000308.

Wai Yee Wong, et al., “Effects of folic acid and zinc sulfate on male factor subfertility: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial,” Fertility and Sterility, March 2002, 77(3):491-498, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0015028201032290.

M.R. Safarinejad, “Effect of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on semen profile and enzymatic anti-oxidant capacity of seminal plasma in infertile men with idiopathic oligoasthenoteratospermia: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised study,” Andrologia, February 2011, 43(1):38-47, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1439-0272.2009.01013.x/abstract.

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story, a northwest-based writer, editor, and ghostwriter, has been creating non-fiction materials for individuals, corporations, and commercial magazines for over 17 years. She specializes in the health and wellness field, where she writes and ghostwrites books, e-books, blogs, magazine articles, and more.

Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness. Her fantasy novel, “Rise of the Sidenah,” was released with Jupiter Gardens Press in September 2015. Her literary novel, “Loreena’s Gift,” is forthcoming in spring 2016 from Dzanc Books. She lives in Idaho. www.colleenmstory.com

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