Take Three for the Team
Most men are more than eager to do all they can to help make a baby, but the bedroom isn’t the only place your input is needed. Boost your chances of producing strong and potent sperm by bellying up to the pharmacy counter and picking up a regimen of targeted supplements.
1. Multi Vitamin for Men
Even if a multi vitamin is part of your usual health regimen, if you and your partner are planning to get pregnant, be sure your multi has these essentials for healthy sperm:
- B9: Most women know that folate, commonly, but mistakenly, known as folic acid, is essential during pregnancy because it decreases the risk of neural tube defects and spina bifida. In men, B9 along with zinc is responsible for a increase in sperm count – up to 74 percent in one study! Read the label to be sure you’re getting folate instead of folic acid. If it says “folic acid” anywhere in the ingredients, you don’t want it. Instead, look for the words “folate”, “5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate”, “L-methylfolate” or “Metfolin”.
- B12 & Vitamin C: Both are known to increase sperm count, motility (how well they swim) and morphology (shape).
- Vitamin E: Increases your sperm’s ability to penetrate an egg. IVF success rates are higher when men take vitamin E.
- Zinc: In men, zinc may be the most important mineral for optimal fertility. Zinc deficiency has been linked to low sperm counts, and supplementation, along with B9, has been demonstrated to increase sperm count, motility, morphology and overall quality.
- Selenium: Improves sperm formation, quantity, structure, motility, function
2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
In men, Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) improve sperm membranes and protect them from oxidative stress. Low EFA status has been linked to poor sperm quality/motility, morphology and count due to their role in membrane structure.
In a major, double-blind study 238 infertile men were given 1.8 g daily EPA/DHA (both are Omega 3 fatty acids) or placebo. After 32 weeks, the study showed significantly increased total sperm concentration, motility and morphology.
Look for brands that are tested for purity and have at least 1 gram total (or 1,000 mg) Omgega 3s. Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega is one good option.
Ashwagandha is a hormone-balancing root herb that lowers chronically elevated cortisol (stress) levels and has been shown to improve fertility and libido. Its major antioxidant constituents also improve sperm quality.
One study found that men with poor semen parameters treated with ashwagandha showed improvement in antioxidant levels, decreased oxidative stress levels and normalization of hormones (testosterone, LH, FSH, and prolactin).
Ashwagandha can be taken as a capsule (Gaia Herbs is a great brand), or as a powder mixed into smoothies or other foods.
Pulling it all Together
Giving your child the best things in life starts with giving them the best shot you’ve got. Get off on the right foot by taking these three for the team.