The Complete Guide to Sperm Health Supplements
You’ve tried it all – you stopped drinking as much, your bedtime is finally reasonable, and your diet looks like something straight out of Dr. Oz’s cookbook. You even restarted your gym membership and managed to drag yourself there on the regular. However, no matter how hard you try, getting your SO pregnant is proving to be an arduous task.
It may be time to give your fertility-boosting efforts an added kick. These are some of most promising supplements, examined in detail, to keep your sperm healthy, your libido strong, and your chances of conceiving high.
Disclaimer – This is not a substitute for qualified medical advice. Before starting any new supplements, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.
D-AA regulates testosterone release – 3 months of supplementation almost doubled sperm concentration and increased motility by 50%.
Not to be confused with aspartic acid, which is a commonly sold supplement, D-Aspartic acid is relatively concentrated in some body tissues, such as the testicles and sperm cells. Although there is no definitive consensus on the issue, some studies suggest that D-AA is of benefit to male fertility. 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-AAs 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, almost doubling concentration and boosting motility by 50%. This led to an improvement in the rate of pregnancies in their partners.
Ashwagandha increases serum levels of beneficial hormones such as testosterone – 3 months of supplementation increased sperm counts by 167%, motility by 57%, and semen volume by 53%.
Also known as Indian Ginseng, Ashwagandha is a known adaptogen – herbs and roots that are known to help the body resist stress and promote healing. It’s been linked to a number of health benefits, especially relating to anxiety. However, one of its most prominent benefits is its effects on testosterone. Ashwagandha can significantly increase testosterone levels, possibly by increasing the activity of natural endogenous antioxidants. For example, one study demonstrated that supplementation with ashwagandha effectively reduced oxidative stress by increasing levels of antioxidants like vitamins A and E, as well as increasing seminal concentrations of testosterone, LH, and FSH. Both LH and FSH are important in stimulating the testes to produce testosterone.
One study showed that consuming 675mg of ashwagandha a day for 3 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 at the end of the 90 days.
This herb can enhance libido and has beneficial effects on semen parameters such as count, motility, and morphology.
Also known as puncturevine, this herb has long been used as an aphrodisiac – a substance that stimulates sexual desire. While on its own this may enhance the chances of conceiving, puncturevine may also improve sperm health and enhance the effects of testosterone. One review looked at 7 different studies and found that periodic consumption of puncturevine was effective at improving the number, motility, and morphology of sperm samples.
Fenugreek improves free testosterone levels – up to a 46% increase after 4 months of supplementation – benefitting sperm parameters such as count and morphology, as well as boosting libido.
This herb, often found in your kitchen, also has potent medicinal properties. The 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, an enriched extract from the seeds, on testosterone levels and sperm profile. 500mg a 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, on improving sexual function in healthy aging males. They found that after taking 600mg for 12 weeks, they found that serum and free testosterone were higher and sexual function improved with an increase in libido.
Omega-3s such as EPA and DHA are incredibly beneficial to your health and 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.
These fatty acids found in fish have been shown to have a myriad of health benefits – anything from easing depression to controlling asthma. Found primarily in fish, omega-3s – especially EPA and DHA – are crucial for proper body functioning and have been implicated with reproductive health. Omega-3s are essential in enhancing antioxidant activity in seminal fluid, as well as being important structural components of cell membranes. One 2012 study explored the effects of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids on idiopathic (unexplained) male infertility. They found that infertile men generally had an increased ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s, and that these lower levels of omega-3s correlated with decreased sperm quality. Supplementing with omega-3s for 32 weeks led to a significant improvement in sperm cell density and total sperm count.
A recent systematic review of omega-3 supplementation for male infertility examined 3 different studies that treated infertile men with EPA and DHA and observed its effects on semen parameters. They found that sperm motility was greatly increased, and that the higher levels of DHA in seminal plasma contributed to a protective effect for the sperm.
Maca Root Powder
A natural aphrodisiac, maca root powder can also be beneficial for sperm, increasing both concentration and motility after 12 weeks of supplementation.
This plant, native to Peru, has a long history of both culinary and medicinal use. It has traditionally been consumed for its high nutrition content and its ability to enhance libido. However, it doesn’t only increase libido – it’s also 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, without any significant change in serum hormone levels.
Many people enjoy the taste of maca, which is described as quite nutty and earthy. It can be easily added to smoothies, pastries or granola, giving them an extra kick of nutrition on top of its fertility-enhancing properties.
A critical nutrient in our metabolism, supplementing with CoQ10 can have additional benefits. Increases in sperm concentration, motility, and fertilization rates have all been described after several weeks of supplementation.
Coenzyme Q10, a naturally occurring nutrient, plays a key role in the body. It is essential for our metabolism to function, and also acts as a very strong antioxidant. It is often used to treat cardiac conditions, and has been researched for its effects on cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and migraines, among many others. However, many energy-dependent processes in sperm cells also rely on the availability of CoQ10. Supplementing with CoQ10 can be incredibly beneficial for sperm health. As early as 1997, researchers tested the effects of CoQ10 on infertile men – they found a significant increase in motility and fertilization rates.
Anywhere from 30-80% of infertility cases are due to oxidative stress, since sperm are extremely sensitive to the effects of free radicals such as ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species – harmful byproducts of body metabolism). CoQ10, as a potent antioxidant and facilitator for metabolism, is effective for improving sperm parameters. A more recent review examined 3 different studies and found that sperm concentration and motility were significantly increased after several weeks of CoQ10 supplementation. A typical daily dose is anywhere between 100-200mg.