For men struggling with infertility, lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise are the most effective way to increase sperm count naturally
For men struggling with infertility or low sperm count, making significant lifestyle changes is the most effective way to increase sperm count naturally. This may include:
- Eating a healthy and nutritious diet
- Getting quality sleep
- Exercising regularly
- Managing stress
- Limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking
- Reducing exposure to chemicals, toxins, pesticides, pollutants, and bisphenol A (BPA, a common chemical in plastics)
- Avoiding excessive heat exposure (jacuzzis, saunas, hot tubs)
- Reducing frequency of sex
- Bathing in cold or lukewarm water
- Losing weight
- Avoiding tight undergarments
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for male fertility, since no two men are the same. Although the steps above can help, sometimes clinical treatments and supplements are necessary. It’s important to be aware of the various options available, as well as their potential side effects.
What factors can affect your sperm count?
In general, the most common causes of low sperm count are overall health and lifestyle factors such as stress. A history of hormone imbalances, chemotherapy, radiation, tumors, or sexually transmitted infections may also influence the sperm count.
Sperm count may be impacted by many factors, which may include:
- Hormone imbalances, including hypogonadism
- Being born with undescended testicles
- Impaired sperm tubes due to trauma or illness
- Blocked vas deferens
- Testicle surgery
- Family history
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Recreational drugs
- Excessive smoking
- Certain medications
- Prolonged illness
- Exposure to industrial chemicals, such as pesticides or radiation
- Being overweight
What should I include in my diet to increase my sperm count?
Eating a diet rich in nutrients and minerals may help increase sperm count.
- B-complex vitamins: B-complex vitamins are a group of 8 micronutrients that play important roles in the body. Folate (B9) and B12 have a significant impact on male fertility (cobalamin).
- Folate: Reduced sperm density and count have been linked to low folate levels. Thus, boosting folate consumption could help improve sperm health.
- Vitamin B12: Several studies have found that B12 can help improve sperm count and motility, as well as reduce sperm DNA damage.
- Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamins C and E: These are antioxidants that combat the negative effects of substances called reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS can cause oxidative stress, which can harm cells, including sperm cells. It is thought that exposing sperm cells to oxidative stress contributes to male infertility.
- Zinc: Zinc is essential for regulating testosterone production.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that plays an important role in cell membranes throughout the body. Some male fertility research suggests that omega-3 supplements can improve sperm count, motility, and morphology (shape).
- D-aspartic acid: This amino acid helps regulate testosterone.
Other essential nutrients that can help enhance sperm include:
Some herbal supplements thought to help increase sperm count include:
- Tribulus terrestris
- Maca root
Medically Reviewed on 9/15/2021
University of Utah Health. How to Increase Male Fertility With Healthy Sperm. https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2020/08/how-to-increase-male-fertility-with-healthy-sperm.php
Ahmadi S, Bashiri R, Ghadiri-Anari A, Nadjarzadeh A. Antioxidant Supplements and Semen Parameters: An Evidence Based Review. Int J Reprod Biomed. 2016;14(12):729-736. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5203687/