While it might seem entirely natural to most people wanting to start a family, the reality is that one in six couples have trouble getting pregnant. Previously, there was a tendency to believe that if a couple couldn’t conceive, it was due to a problem on the woman’s side, but research now shows that male fertility issues account for almost half of infertility cases that are reported and treated.
The causes of male infertility are numerous and include sperm production problems, blockage of sperm transport, sexual problems, hormonal problems and sperm antibodies. However, beyond this are the underlying environmental, lifestyle and nutritional factors that must be understood if male reproductive health are to be adequately addressed. Exposure to environmental toxins, smoking, excessive alcohol use and recreational drugs have been shown to lower sperm count and motility.
It is also believed that exposure to xenooestrogens (PCBs, DDT, dioxin, pesticides, plastics) impacts sperm health. Improving nutrition, in particular, treating deficiencies of zinc, selenium, B complex and essential fatty acids, as well as maintaining adequate exercise, are essential for optimising overall fertility.
In this infographic we review the evidence in support of some important nutrients and herbs that have been shown to assist in increasing male fertility and sperm count.
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- Ahmad MK, Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, et al. Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males. Fertil Steril 2010;94(3):989-996. [Abstract]
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- Colagar AH, Marzony ET, Chaichi MJ. Zinc levels in seminal plasma are associated with sperm quality in fertile and infertile men. Nutr Res 2009;29(2):82-88. [Abstract]
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- Akmal M, Qadri JQ, Al-Waili NS, et al. Improvement in human semen quality after oral supplementation of vitamin C. J Med Food 2006 Fall;9(3):440-442. [Abstract]
- Cyrus A, Kabir A, Goodarzi D, et al The effect of adjuvant vitamin C after varicocele surgery on sperm quality and quantity in infertile men: a double blind placebo controlled clinical trial. Int Braz J Urol 2015;41(2):230-238. [Full text]
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