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July 11, 2022

How to boost male fertility

About 10% of American men who are trying to conceive struggle with infertility. The reasons vary, from medical conditions to genetic diseases and more. But for many, lifestyle changes and dietary tweaks can lead to male fertility improvement. Below, we’ll discuss steps you can take to boost male fertility and increase your chances of conceiving.

Ways to improve male fertility 

Male-factor infertility is not always preventable, especially in cases where trauma, genetics, or congenital issues are at fault.

But for many people experiencing infertility or subfertility, there are ways to improve your chances of conceiving, including:

  • making dietary changes
  • getting regular exercise
  • cutting out habits that hurt fertility, such as smoking or excessive drinking

Taking male fertility supplements is another way to boost your fertility chances. Let’s find out which lifestyle changes impact fertility the most, and how to choose the right supplement for you that can help with male fertility improvement.

Lifestyle changes to boost male fertility

Studies show that “environmental, occupational, and modifiable” lifestyle factors may significantly contribute to a decline in male fertility. This negative impact can be overcome by modifying behavior and choosing better lifestyle habits.

From exercising regularly to getting enough sleep, here are some of the best tips for male fertility improvement:

Quit smoking

Research shows that smoking cigarettes is associated with poor sperm quality, including low sperm count, decreased sperm motility, and decreased sperm morphology, as well as sperm DNA damage. There is some evidence that chewing tobacco is just as detrimental.

However, this negative impact can be reversed within a few months if you quit smoking. This is especially important for those who have poor results on a sperm analysis or at-home male fertility test. An additional reason to give up smoking is that secondhand smoke can also reduce fertility in female partners; one study found that secondhand smoke reduced the number of eggs retrieved in an IVF cycle by 46%.

Learn more about smoking and fertility.

Get regular, moderate exercise

You may already be familiar with the benefits of exercise on your heart, lungs, energy, and mood, but it can also benefit your fertility. Research shows that one hour of moderate exercise three times a week can improve sperm health, specifically sperm’s ability to move swiftly and efficiently toward the egg. Other research has found that simply walking or jogging for 30–60 minutes, 4–6 days a week may be the best exercise for improving your sperm health.

Just don’t overdo it. There is some evidence that intense physical exercise, such as running marathons, can actually have an adverse effect on sperm quality.

Get 7–9 hours of quality sleep

Studies show that a lack of sleeping time may reduce sperm quality. It’s best to get around 7–9 hours of quality sleep —meaning deep sleep that’s not interrupted — per night to keep your hormones balanced and boost your sperm health.

Follow a healthy diet — try the Mediterranean diet

Certain dietary patterns, including those high in fat, meat (especially red meat and processed meats), and sugar, have been associated with poorer sperm health.

The best diet for male fertility is rich in fruits and vegetables, fish, healthy fats, and whole grains, such as the Mediterranean diet. Incorporating sperm superfoods into your diet can also be beneficial. It’s also best to limit red meat, processed foods, added sugars, and trans fats as they can have an adverse effect on male fertility.

Avoid activities that could raise the temperature of your scrotum

From hot tubs and saunas to tight underwear and laptops, there are many ways you may be unknowingly putting your sperm production at risk. There’s a reason why the scrotum hangs outside of the body: it helps to maintain the optimal temperature for sperm production, around 2–8ºC below body temperature. If the temperature in your scrotum increases, it could lead to fewer or poorer quality sperm.

To avoid this risk, limit your time in saunas and hot tubs (including hot baths), wear loose-fitting underwear and workout clothes, limit your time spent biking, and keep your laptop on a desk, not actually on your lap.

Reduce drinking to fewer than 6 drinks per week

Love to finish your day with a cold one (or two)? If you’re trying to conceive a child, you may want to stick with one or none at all.

Studies show that consuming more than 5 units of alcohol weekly could lower the quality of sperm. And the more alcohol a person drinks, the less potent their sperm. Researchers have also discovered that alcohol use can lead to shrinking of the testicles as well as reductions in sex hormones.

Learn more about drinking and fertility and how reducing drinking can lead to male fertility improvement.

Research your current medications

If you are taking prescription medications or over-the-counter medications regularly, talk to your doctor about the potential impact of these medications on your fertility. Some antibiotics, high blood pressure medications, antacids, antidepressants, cancer drugs, and anti-inflammatory medications may cause male fertility problems. Testosterone supplements also have a negative impact on fertility, and can even make you temporarily infertile.

Male fertility supplements

There are a number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that have been associated with increased sperm count and quality. In addition to leading a healthy lifestyle, male fertility supplements may help "fill in the gaps" to support healthy sperm production, hormone health, and overall male fertility. However, it’s important to note that not all male fertility supplements are supported by scientific evidence or formulated for ideal absorption. 

Legacy has worked with experts to provide a comprehensive Male Fertility Supplement designed to support sperm production and hormone health. The comprehensive multivitamin contains 10 carefully selected active ingredients, including coenzyme Q10, vitamins C, D, and E, folate, selenium, and more. Each of these research-backed ingredients have been shown to support male fertility in the following ways:

CoQ10 for male fertility

Supplementation with coenzyme Q10 or “CoQ10,” an antioxidant, may improve sperm concentration, motility, and morphology. Legacy’s Male Fertility Supplement contains 300mg of this crucial ingredient. We also offer a CoQ10 supplement containing 200–300 mg of CoQ10 (ubiquinone) daily, for those who already have a male fertility supplement routine.

L-carnitine for male fertility

Involved in the production of energy in the body, L-carnitine has been associated with improved sperm motility, sperm capacitation, and fertilization rates. Beyond helping as a male fertility supplement, L-carnitine also supports brain health and weight management.

Vitamin D for male fertility

Vitamin D as a male fertility supplement can positively impact sperm motility and capacitation, testosterone levels, and sexual function. It also supports immune function and heart health.

Vitamin C for male fertility

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that may protect sperm from oxidative stress damage. Supplementation with vitamin C has been correlated with improved sperm count, motility, and morphology.

Vitamin E for male fertility

Another antioxidant, vitamin E may also protect sperm from oxidative stress damage. Vitamin E is especially effective when used in conjunction with vitamin C and CoQ10.

Folate for male fertility

An important B vitamin, folate supports the production and development of sperm. It’s often found in male fertility supplements as “folic acid” or 5 methylfolate (5-MTHF).

Selenium for male fertility

Selenium has been shown to improve sperm count, motility, morphology, and genetic health. Selenium also supports healthy testosterone levels, making it a key male fertility supplement.

Lycopene for male fertility

As a powerful antioxidant, Lycopene can help protect sperm against oxidative stress. Supplementation with lycopene has been associated with improved sperm count, viability, quality, and genetic health.

D-aspartic acid (D-AA) for male fertility

D-aspartic acid is an amino acid. D-AA may support healthy sperm while boosting testosterone and sex drive.

Zinc for male fertility

Zinc helps to support sperm production, sperm stability, and testosterone release. Supplementation has shown to significantly increase semen volume, sperm motility, and normal sperm morphology while improving hormone health and sexual function.

Other male fertility supplements that may boost male fertility include:

  • ashwagandha, an adaptogen known to benefit the male sex hormones
  • fenugreek, an herb shown to improve testosterone levels and sperm parameters
  • maca root powder, a natural aphrodisiac which may increase sperm concentration and motility
  • omega-3 fatty acids which have antioxidant properties that support sperm health
  • tribulus terrestris, another aphrodisiac shown to enhance libido

Sperm improvement backed by science

Developed by our male fertility urology experts, Legacy's sperm health supplements are packed with research-based ingredients. No pseudoscience here.

See supplements

Who should take male fertility supplements? 

There are many reasons you may want to consider male fertility supplements:

  • If you’re currently trying to conceive
  • If you’re planning to freeze your sperm for future use
  • If you’ve recently tested your sperm and received abnormal results
  • If you are going through fertility treatment such as IUI or IVF and you’re concerned about providing an optimal sperm sample

Male fertility supplements can give you the extra boost you need to increase your chances of success and help with male fertility improvement. Many of the ingredients listed above have whole-body health benefits in addition to fertility support, adding to the advantages of supplementation.

How can I check my own fertility?

The first step to boosting male fertility is knowing what you’re working with. You can test for several important male fertility metrics with a semen analysis or at-home male fertility test. Once your sperm has been tested, you can come up with a strategic game plan for your unique needs.

Learn more about sperm testing and the benefits of at-home male fertility tests.

An at-home male fertility test is a good place to start with male fertility improvement. Legacy offers semen analysis kits and male fertility tests that evaluate crucial sperm parameters like sperm count/concentration, motility, and morphology.

As the most scientifically advanced at-home male fertility test, Legacy’s testing kits are conducted in CLIA-certified labs by a team of experienced scientists and all results are reviewed by our medical staff. You also have the option to add on a sperm DNA fragmentation analysis, which assesses your sperm’s genetic health to detect deeper causes of fertility difficulties if you’ve been having trouble conceiving.

What if I receive an abnormal semen analysis report? 

There are a number of emotions that may come up if you receive an abnormal semen analysis, but it’s important to remember that these results do not always mean you are infertile. In fact, you will only be diagnosed with infertility if you’ve been actively trying to conceive a healthy pregnancy without success.

You may actually be experiencing abnormal semen parameters. Or, one of these reasons may explain your abnormal semen analysis:

  • a spilled or contaminated sample
  • being unwell or having a fever when collecting your sample
  • having too short of an abstinence period prior to the test — you must abstain from ejaculation (sex or masturbation) for 2–5 days before producing a sample for analysis

For optimal results, learn how to prepare for a semen analysis. If you’ve received an abnormal semen analysis or male fertility test, the best next steps are to meet with a doctor or fertility specialist, and repeat the semen analysis to confirm any abnormal results.

Keep in mind it takes 70–90 days to produce new sperm. That means, if you’re trying to improve your sperm quality with lifestyle changes or supplementation, it may take a few months to see these changes in your semen analysis results. We recommend waiting 2–3 months before undergoing another male fertility test.

What is male-factor infertility?

Infertility is typically diagnosed if a couple has been trying to conceive for a year without success. Male-factor infertility refers to infertility that is primarily due to the sperm's inability to fertilize the egg.  In cases of male-factor infertility, the female partner is ovulating normally and has no issues with her sexual anatomy. 

Male-factor infertility can be caused by a number of issues, including low sperm production, chronic health problems, and abnormal sperm function. The most common issue, appearing in as many as 90% of male infertility cases, is low sperm count.

Boosting male fertility

Fertility issues can be a big source of stress, but it is not a hopeless situation. With lifestyle changes, supplements, and knowledge about how to improve sperm health, it is possible to boost male fertility and increase your chances of starting a family. For peace of mind, consider testing your sperm as soon as possible from the comfort of your home so you can forge ahead with a plan.

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