An antioxidant rich, nutrient dense diet can go a long way when it comes to male fertility! In fact, certain foods provide nutrients that can support men struggling with infertility. In this article I'm going to share key nutrients and foods to include in your diet, along with the best male fertility supplements to consider.
Check out the delicious super antioxidant filled smoothie recipe for future dads too!
Free Radicals & Male Infertility
Free radicals, which are produced by the body and encountered in our environment, cause destruction to the cells they encounter and are responsible for premature aging. Free radicals can be produced in response to natural metabolism that occurs in the body.
Free radicals lead to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is when there are more free radical than antioxidants, which can lead to DNA damage.
Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radicals. The result when antioxidants are low in the body or there are more free radicals then the body can handle is oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is one of the most common causes of male infertility.
What Causes Oxidative Stress in Sperm?
It been estimated that between 30-80% of male infertility is due to oxidative stress. Sperm are highly sensitive to oxidants that come from the outside environment as well as endogenously as part of normal cellular waste.It been estimated that between 30-80% of male infertility is due to oxidative stress. Click To Tweet
Oxidants have been shown to reduce sperm motility and increase DNA fragmentation. DNA fragmentation is essentially a measure of the DNA damage of the sperm.
Other Causes of DNA Damage in Sperm That Cause Male Infertility:
- Exposure to Tobacco
- Prescription Drugs, such as SSRI
- Recreational Drugs
Nutrition for Healthy Sperm
Many men have diets low in antioxidants. In my practice, I’ve found that simply increasing food based sources of antioxidants can have significantly increase sperm count and motility.
And research has shown there is also an association with increased live birth and pregnancy rates when dads are consuming ample antioxidants prior to conception. Another reason to eat more fruits and vegetables daily!
One of the easiest ways to get highly absorbed antioxidants is through a daily smoothie. This is one of my most popular preconception smoothies that I prescribe.
Give this recipe a try and keep reading because there are more food is medicine tips I'm sharing!
Future Dad’s Antioxidant Smoothie
- 1 large handful dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, spring mix)
- 1 cup berries of choice
- 2 TBSP pumpkin seeds
- ½ an avocado
- 1 lime, skin cut off
- 1 cup or more of almond, coconut, hemp, rice or other milk
- Optional: handful of ice cubes
Blend until creamy and enjoy
Fertility Diet For Men
Ensuring your diet is filled with fresh vegetables and fruits is one of the best ways to increase fertility supporting nutrients. In addition to the foods in the smoothie recipe above, consider adding these foods to your diet.
- Brazil Nuts are rich in selenium, which can support sperm health and is used to create glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant that protects our cells.
- Red Bell Peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, another antioxidant that supports sperm health.
- Sunflower Seeds contain vitamin E, which can help with the morphology of sperm. Morphology refers to the size and shape, which matters when it comes to successfully conceiving.
- Wild Caught Salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids that help build better prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are hormone-like chemicals that allow the sperm to penetrate the egg. If you're trying to conceive, it may also be helpful to consider 1500-3,000 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids as a supplement.
- Oysters are often touted as an aphrodisiac, but did you know they can provide zinc that can improve sperm counts? Next time you see oysters on the menu, go ahead and order a round!
Male Fertility Supplements
Supplements can be a helpful addition to diet and lifestyle practices aimed at improving fertility. Here is a short list of supplements to consider.
- Adaptogenic Herbs. These are herbs that support optimal adrenal function. They help with balancing hormones and creating a better stress response. Rhodiola and other ginsengs have been long touted for their ability to support men's hormones. Adrenal Support is a formulation I use in my clinic at 3 caps with breakfast daily to provide adaptogenic herbs, plus additional nutrients that support sperm, like vitamin C.
- Saw Palmetto is an herb that when partnered with zinc can help create optimal testosterone levels. Saw Palmetto is typically dosed at 300-600 mg daily with zinc at about 10-30 mg. Check out my Saw Palmetto Plus if you're looking for a comprehensive formula to balance testosterone.
- Folate is a B vitamin that is essential for DNA synthesis. We often hear how important this is for women, but folate is equally important for the development of sperm. I recommend selecting for folate, methylfolate or a NatureFolate blend over folic acid. Not matter how you look at it, folic acid is a synthetic and cheaper version that is not as high quality as other forms. Taking folate as part of a B complex vitamin is one the best ways to ensure you're getting all the B's you need in one place. My B-Active Plus is a complete B complex vitamin using only the highest quality of each vitamin.
Using food based medicine, along with targeted nutritional supplementation and lifestyle medicine, I’ve helped many couples succeed in becoming pregnant and creating an amazing pregnancy experience.
The most optimal time to start is at least 3 months prior to conception since sperm takes about 72 days to mature. But of course, it's never too early to start getting your fertility health optimized!