Many men do not know the cause of their infertility. Sometimes, vitamin supplements are used in the hope of improving fertility, but while these supplements can treat occasional infertility episodes, they have also been linked to increased mortality in healthy individuals. A more natural and safer solution is simple dietary changes. The increasing amount of evidence for the influence of diet on sperm quality is shedding light on how diet can be tailored to improve male fertility. Several nutrients have been found to impart beneficial effects to male fertility, and they are commonly available in many healthy foods.
Some vitamins help fight against the so-called free radicals and their deleterious effects on the production of spermatozoa. These micronutrients have antioxidant properties, therefore, vitamin-rich foods help improve the quantity and quality of sperm.
Vitamin A – Vitamin A is present in foods like liver, broccoli, fruits and vegetables of yellow, orange or red color (carrot, dried apricot).
Vitamin C – Vitamin C is present in chilli pepper, orange, lemon, acerola, broccoli, kale and cauliflower. It is a potent antioxidant and can significantly improve sperm motility.
Vitamin E – In addition to being an antioxidant, vitamin E can protect sperm cells from mutations and aid in the production of hormones important for male fertility. Rich sources of the vitamin are wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, almonds, hazelnuts and cocoa butter. Vitamin E deficiency can lead to problems in the reproductive system, such as degeneration of the testicles and a decrease in fertility.
Zinc is essential mineral when it comes to male fertility. It is present in whole grains, oysters, seafood, wheat germ, eggs, pumpkins, hazelnuts, beans, beer yeast and onions. Zinc is associated with improved sperm count and concentration owing to its role in spermatogenesis. The recommended daily dose is 15 mg. Also, vitamin D should be consumed in sufficient amounts as it improves the absorption of zinc in the intestines.
Omega-3 is commonly found in fish, soy, corn, nuts and seeds (especially chia and flax seeds). It improves the movement of sperm, increasing the chances of egg fertilization. Studies with rats have shown a reversal of the state of infertility with prolonged use of the substance.
Adopting a healthy diet also implies limiting the intake of saturated fats, which is a beneficial step on its own according to multiple studies. The effects of these nutritional guidelines are best experienced over the long-term periods and in tandem with the other healthy lifestyle aspects: less stress, no smoking, weight in the healthy range, and regular physical activity can be just as important as an adequate diet.