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One study found that taking 1,000mg supplements twice a day for two months was associated with doubled sperm counts, as well as motility increased by over 90%; sperm with normal morphology increased by 50%. Another study found that men with infertility who were assigned 250mg of vitamin C twice daily for three months had significantly better normal motility and morphology values than the control group.
Treatment with antioxidants such as vitamins C and E has also been associated with reduced sperm DNA fragmentation (genetic damage to sperm) and improved outcomes from fertility treatment. For example, in one small study, men who had already undergone one failed ICSI cycle were prescribed 2 months of C and E. For 29 of the 37 men, sperm genetic health improved after treatment, and the post-treatment ICSI cycle showed a marked increase in pregnancy rates.
Many studies have looked at combination therapies for infertility, such as selenium and vitamin E, A, or C, and found benefits to fertility—we’ve explored many of those above. Additional sources include a recent 2021 study that found sperm motility was improved after 3 months of daily selenium, vitamin E, and folic acid supplementation.
But a recent study aimed to evaluate selenium supplementation as a standalone therapy. Infertile men were prescribed 50μg (micrograms, not milligrams) of selenium once a day for three months; researchers found that sperm count, motility, vitality, and normal morphology were all noticeably increased after treatment, and levels of MDA—a marker of oxidative stress—significantly decreased. Additionally, they found higher levels of testosterone and glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, both of which could also benefit fertility. This backed up the results of earlier research, which found that 56% of men treated with selenium experienced improved sperm motility.
Lycopene is a potent antioxidant. There’s evidence that adding lycopene to your diet may improve many aspects of male fertility — including sperm count, viability, quality, and genetic health — as well as pregnancy rates.
Lycopene is the compound responsible for the red and pink hues of tomatoes and watermelon, among other fruits and vegetables. It’s an antioxidant that can protect cells in the body from oxidative stress. While we can get lycopene from our food — pizza sauce and ketchup are actually the most common sources of lycopene in the American diet — it may also be valuable to boost lycopene intake with a male fertility supplement.
A 2014 review of several small studies of lycopene’s impact on male fertility found that, when consumed in the form of a supplement, lycopene was associated with decreased oxidative stress and sperm DNA damage and increased sperm count, concentration, motility, and morphology. This review looked at studies of both healthy men and men diagnosed with infertility.
More recent studies support the use of lycopene for sperm improvement and fertility protection, as well. Animal studies demonstrate that, in rats who were exposed to toxins common in agriculture, lycopene supplementation had a protective effect for the testes and sperm quality. In one placebo-controlled trial of 44 infertile men with oligozoospermia (low sperm count), supplementing with 25mg of lycopene was associated with a significant increase in sperm concentration.
D-AA regulates testosterone release. Three months of supplementation nearly doubled sperm concentration and increased motility by over 50%.
Not to be confused with aspartic acid, D-aspartic acid is an amino acid that’s concentrated in some body tissues and cells, such as testicles and sperm cells. Although there’s no definitive consensus on the issue, some studies suggest that D-AA may be used as a male fertility supplement.
Researchers noticed that levels of D-AA in semen were much lower in infertile men than in healthy controls. This is likely due to D-AA’s effect on testosterone levels; it seems to have a role in regulating the release and synthesis of testosterone, which can have powerful effects on reproductive health. In fact, one study showed that supplementing with D-AA for 90 days significantly increased the concentration and motility of sperm, nearly doubling concentration and boosting motility by over 50%. Ultimately, this led to an improvement in the rate of pregnancies in their partners.
Zinc is a critical player in male reproductive health. Zinc supplementation is associated with increases in sperm volume, motility, and normal morphology.
Commonly described as one of the most essential elements for male fertility, zinc is involved in a number of critical reproductive processes, such as spermatogenesis (sperm production), sperm stability, and testosterone release. Deficiencies in zinc may impede spermatogenesis and negatively impact testosterone levels, and can give rise to a number of sperm abnormalities.
It has been repeatedly shown that zinc concentrations in seminal plasma from infertile males is significantly lower than those from normal controls. Furthermore, zinc supplementation has been associated with a significant increase in semen volume, sperm motility, and normal sperm morphology — especially in combination with folate, according to multiple studies.
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Ashwagandha increases serum levels of beneficial hormones such as testosterone. Three months of supplementation increased sperm counts by 167%, motility by 57%, and semen volume by 53%.
Also known as Indian ginseng, ashwagandha is an adaptogen, a plant known to help the body resist stress and promote healing; it’s been linked to a number of health benefits, especially related to anxiety. However, one of its most prominent benefits is its effect on testosterone. Ashwagandha can significantly increase testosterone levels, possibly by increasing the activity of natural endogenous antioxidants. This makes it useful as a male fertility supplement.
One study demonstrated that supplementation with ashwagandha increased seminal concentrations of testosterone, LH, and FSH. Both LH and FSH are important in stimulating the testes to produce testosterone and sperm. Another study showed that consuming 675mg of ashwagandha a day for three months improved both semen parameters and serum levels of beneficial hormones. Sperm count improved by 167%, semen volume by 53%, and sperm motility by 57%. Both testosterone and LH levels were also elevated after 90 days.
Fenugreek improves free testosterone levels, with increases of up to 46% after three months of supplementation. This benefits sperm parameters such as count and morphology, and boosts libido.
This herb, often found in your kitchen, has potent medicinal properties, and can be found in many male fertility supplements. Extracts derived from fenugreek seeds have been shown to have significant effects on hormone regulation and reproductive health.
One study examined the effects of Furosap, made from fenugreek seeds, on testosterone levels and sperm profile. Supplementation of 500mg per day for 12 weeks showed a 46% increase in free testosterone levels, as well as benefits on sperm count and morphology. Another study aimed to evaluate Testofen, another extract of fenugreek, on improving sexual function in healthy aging males. They found that after supplementation with 600mg for 12 weeks, serum and free testosterone were higher and sexual function improved with an increase in libido.
A natural aphrodisiac, maca root powder may also be beneficial as a male fertility supplement, increasing both sperm concentration and motility after 12 weeks of supplementation.
This plant, native to Peru, has a long history of culinary and medicinal use—it has traditionally been consumed for its high nutrition content and its ability to enhance libido. However, it may also be great for sperm health. One study gave men 1.75g of maca for 12 weeks to observe its effects on fertility. They found that both sperm concentration and motility were increased gradually throughout the treatment period, without any significant change in serum hormone levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to improve measures of fertility. Supplementation for 32 weeks leads to a significant improvement in sperm concentration, total count, and motility, as well as protective antioxidant effects.
Omega 3s are more than just male fertility supplements—these fatty acids have been shown to have a myriad of health benefits, including everything from easing depression to controlling asthma. Found primarily in fish, omega-3s (especially EPA and DHA) are crucial for proper body functioning. When it comes to male reproductive health, omega-3s are essential in enhancing antioxidant activity in seminal fluid, as well as serving as important structural components of cell membranes.
One 2010 study explored the relationship between both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and idiopathic (unexplained) male infertility. They found that infertile men generally had a higher ratio of omega-6s compared to omega-3s, and that lower levels of omega-3s correlated with decreased sperm quality. Another study demonstrated that supplementing with omega-3s for 32 weeks led to a dramatic improvement in sperm concentration.
A recent systematic review of omega-3 fatty acids as a male fertility supplement examined three studies that treated infertile men with EPA and DHA and observed their effects on semen parameters. They found that supplementation with omega-3s increased sperm motility significantly, and that higher levels of DHA in seminal plasma contributed to a protective effect for the sperm.
Tribulus terrestris can enhance libido and has beneficial effects on semen parameters such as count, motility, and morphology.
Also known as puncturevine, tribulus terrestris has long been used as an aphrodisiac, a substance that stimulates sexual desire. While this on its own may enhance the chances of conceiving, puncturevine may also function as a male fertility supplement that improves sperm health and enhances the effects of testosterone.
One review looked at seven different clinical studies, concluding that consumption of tribulus terrestris was effective at improving the number, motility, and morphology of sperm samples from men with infertility.