If you want to maintain your fertility even as you age, you’ll need to pay better attention to what you’re eating. Nutrition has a significant influence on how well your reproductive system functions. What you eat can also impact your sperm health.
There are four important markers of sperm health. These are sperm count, sperm morphology, semen volume, and sperm motility. When any of these markers are low, it will negatively impact your fertility. Continue reading to learn about supplements you can take to improve your sperm health.
Zinc can help regulate the quality of your sperm. This mineral helps make sure that the cell membranes of your spermatozoa are stable. Moreover, testicular zinc is necessary for sperm production. Hence, if you are deficient in zinc, you may suffer from a low sperm count.
In fact, research has shown that men who are infertile actually have significantly lower levels of zinc. Fortunately, zinc supplementation can help restore normal sperm count. If your sperm count is dangerously low, you can simply take zinc supplements or increase your intake of zinc-rich foods like shellfish, legumes, and nuts.
Folate has been found to be strongly linked to normal sperm health. When your folate levels are low, chances are many of your sperm cells have damaged DNA. DNA synthesis is actually a very important process in spermatogenesis. That’s because the sperm that you produce need to contain your DNA.
However, if you lack folate, your sperm cells may end up having fragmented DNA or damaged DNA. Low folate levels are also associated with lower sperm count and density. Taking folate supplements, especially if it’s accompanied by zinc, can greatly improve your sperm production.
You can also get folate from various dietary sources. For instance, cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts contain a lot of folate. Eating bean, nuts, and peas can also help increase your folate levels. Whole grains and fortified breakfast cereals are also good sources of folate.
3. Vitamin E
You need vitamin E to help protect your sperm cells from being damaged by free radicals. Vitamin E actually has antioxidant properties that help protect your sperm. Aside from scavenging for free radicals, vitamin E also interrupts lipid peroxidation in your sperm.
When free radicals attach to your sperm cells, they will damage the phospholipids found in the mitochondria of your sperm cells. When this happens, the affected sperm cell will no longer be motile. This means that the affected sperm will no longer be able to swim toward your partner’s egg cell.
If you want to increase your vitamin E intake, you should eat more green vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Broccoli, for instance, is a great vitamin E source. The same goes for spinach, almonds, and avocado.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another antioxidant that is crucial for keeping your sperm cells healthy. When you increase your intake of vitamin C, you can improve your sperm count, motility, and morphology.
In fertile men, vitamin C makes up more than 60% of antioxidant protection for sperm cells. In fact, vitamin C supplementation is actually an important part of infertility treatment. This is why you should either take vitamin C supplements or increase your intake of foods that contain high concentrations of vitamin C.
Fruits such as oranges contain a lot of vitamin C, just like grapes, strawberries, and kiwi. Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts are also excellent dietary sources of vitamin C.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps modulate testicular functions such as testosterone and sperm production. In addition, vitamin D also helps improve sperm motility. Men who are infertile often have very low levels of vitamin D as compared to men who are fertile.
Although your body can synthesize vitamin D naturally when you expose your skin to sunlight, you may also raise your vitamin D levels by eating foods that are rich in vitamin D. For instance, cheese, egg yolks, oily fish, and mushrooms are all rich in vitamin D.
6. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is a crucial antioxidant that helps protect your sperm cells and enhance the quality of your semen. Sperm cells are very vulnerable to oxidative stress. However, when you have high levels of Coenzyme Q10, your sperm cells will have more protection against oxidative stress.
Aside from acting as an antioxidant, Coenzyme Q10 also works in synergy with vitamins C and E by helping to preserve the levels of these two important vitamins. To increase your levels of Coenzyme Q10, you should eat more fish, nuts, and seeds.
7. D-aspartic Acid
An amino acid, D-aspartic acid helps regulate levels of male sex hormones. For infertile men, D-aspartic acid may be taken to increase testosterone levels. It can also help boost sperm motility and increase sperm concentration.
Although your body produces D-aspartic acid naturally, you can further increase your D-aspartic acid levels by eating foods that contain high concentrations of this important amino acid. For instance, poultry, eggs, dairy products like cheese, fortified breakfast cereals, and fresh fruits are great sources of D-aspartic acid.
8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids benefit not just your heart, they also improve your sperm parameters. Of the three types of omega-3 fatty acids, DHA or Docosahexaenoic acid is the one that plays a crucial role in sperm production.
A healthy sperm cell has an acrosome at the top. The acrosome enables your sperm to penetrate the outer layer of the egg cell. However, unhealthy sperm cells may lack acrosomes, so they can’t fertilize the egg cell. DHA is actually necessary for the formation of acrosomes. Hence, if you have low levels of DHA, it can lead to weaker sperm.
Since the human body cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids naturally, you will need to either take omega-3 fatty acid supplements or increase your intake of foods that contain a lot omega-3s.
For instance, fatty fish like salmon and herring are known to have high concentrations of omega-3s. Walnuts, flaxseed, and other nuts and seeds also contain high levels of omega-3s. You can also get omega-3 fatty acids from fortified yogurt and other beverages.