Have you been trying unsuccessfully for a baby with your partner?
While it's not often discussed, research suggests male fertility has rapidly declined over the last 5 decades (1). According to NICE, 1 in 7 heterosexual couples in the UK struggle with infertility and 30% of cases are attributed to male infertility.
It's a complex topic, but experts know reproductive health is heavily influenced by dietary and lifestyle factors. We’ve compiled a list of 11 simple tips that may help boost male fertility.
Once you have read this guide you will be able to answers questions like: How to increase fertility in men?, How to improve sperm quality?, How to improve or boost sperm count?, and How to improve sperm motility?.
Let's dive in!
1. Supplement with L-Arginine
L-arginine is an amino acid that's important for male fertility support. It supports sexual function by increasing the body's production of nitric oxide (NO), a gas that dilates blood vessels and improves circulation to the genitals. Additionally, NO plays a key role in sperm function. Research on infertile men has found supplementing with L-arginine may improve sperm motility (their ability to swim fast) (2).
Arginine is largely found in meat, fish, and dairy products, so vegans and vegetarians may lack this amino acid. Plus, your arginine demands increase when you're under chronic stress or recovering from intense exercise. We suggest taking a supplement if you're planning a family.
2. Consider Taking Maca Root
Maca root is a Peruvian superfood that you should know about if you're struggling with infertility or sexual performance. Ancient South American civilisations used the roots of this powerful vegetable to enhance stress resilience, fertility, and libido. Now, studies have found regularly consuming maca may enhance male fertility by improving sexual function, increasing sperm count, and increasing sperm motility (3).
Dried maca root powder has a nutty taste and we love adding a spoonful to smoothies, porridge, stews, or soups!
3. Quit Smoking
If you want to become a dad, putting out your cigarette once and for all should be your priority. This bad habit bombards your body with toxins and free radicals that reduce semen quality by depleting your vitamin C and zinc stores and damaging sperm cells.
A 2016 meta-analysis found that smoking impacted male fertility by lowering the total number of sperm cells, reducing sperm motility, and messing with their shape (4). Luckily, within months of quitting, your sperm count should bounce back. As a bonus, you may increase your lifespan and won't burden your family with the risks associated with second-hand smoke!
4. Try Korean Ginseng
Korean ginseng, also known as Panax ginseng, is a herbal extract that's been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Known as the "king of herbs,” it’s traditionally been used to promote stress resilience, sustained energy, sexual vitality, and fertility.
Scientific research has found that this herb is a rich source of ginsenosides, which are responsible for its many health benefits. Interestingly, studies show ginseng may promote sexual function and sperm health by increasing nitric oxide synthesis (5).
5. Consume More Lycopene
Unstable free radicals bombard your body from every angle – think pollution, refined foods, alcohol, smoking, intense exercise sessions, and chronic stress. Unfortunately, these compounds impair fertility by oxidising sperm cell membranes and DNA.
Lycopene can help! It's an antioxidant compound that may promote male fertility by scavenging free radicals and protecting delicate sperm cells from oxidative damage. Amazingly, studies show daily supplementation with lycopene may improve the size, shape, and motility of sperm (6).
You can find lycopene in tomatoes as well as a variety of foods to improve male fertility such as red fruits and vegetables. However, to significantly boost your levels, a lycopene supplement or men's fertility tablets containing lycopene is your best bet.
6. Up Your Intake of Zinc
If you only take one supplement for fertility support, make it zinc! This essential trace mineral is a game-changer for men. It's important for hormonal balance as well as sperm cell development.
However, it's not made or stored in the body and is rapidly depleted by poor lifestyle habits, stress, and infections. So, you must consume zinc daily via dietary sources and/or health supplements – 20-30 mg is an ideal daily dose.
Some of the best zinc-rich foods include:
- Red meat
- Dairy products
- Pumpkin seeds
7. Minimise Stress
When you're stressed, your body diverts energy away from non-essential metabolic processes and body systems – like your reproductive system! Plus, chronic stress causes you to pump out huge amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which blunts testosterone production. No wonder your energy levels and libido hit the floor when you're under stress!
Getting your stress levels under control could turn things around for you. We swear by the following stress reduction tips:
- Exercise for 30 minutes daily
- Practice deep breathing
- Download a meditation app and use it regularly
- Speak to a counsellor
- Supplement with adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, or Ginseng
- Spend time in nature each day
8. Focus on Folic Acid
You may be wondering what are the benefits of folic acid for men?
Folic acid, or vitamin B9, plays a vital role in cell division and DNA synthesis, making it necessary for the formation of millions of healthy sperm cells each day. Interestingly, folic acid and zinc may work synergistically to promote healthy sperm counts and morphology (7).
You can increase your folic acid levels by taking a daily men's health supplement and eating more broccoli, asparagus, avocado, green leafy vegetables, bananas, and eggs.
9. Maintain a Sleep Schedule
We all need to be getting enough quality sleep each night for optimal metabolic function and hormonal balance. Getting enough shut-eye may also improve the quality of your swimmers! (8)
If you struggle to get to sleep, try this relaxing breathing exercise before bed:
– Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4
– Hold your breath for a count of 7
– Slowly breathe out through your mouth for a count of 8 while making a "whoosh" sound
– Repeat this for 5-10 minutes to calm the nervous system and lull yourself to sleep
10. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise is vital for physical and mental well-being. However, for men, exercise is essential for healthy testosterone levels, libido, and sperm function. A study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that physically active men had better sperm motility and healthier testosterone levels compared to sedentary men (9).
It doesn't matter whether you like hiking, weight-lifting, running, yoga, or HIT; all that matters is that you get moving daily and sustain it!
11. Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you're carrying excess weight, studies show you are more likely to have a low sperm count and poor sperm quality (10).
The following lifestyle changes can help you drop pounds:
- Eat a calorie-controlled, whole food diet
- Prep healthy meals in advance
- Drink more pure water and minimise your consumption of alcohol and sugary soft drinks
- Aim to do 10 000 steps daily
- Engage in 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 times per week
- See a nutritionist for extra support
Many men suffer in silence after trying unsuccessfully to conceive with their partner for months or years. At For Chaps Wellnex, we have created an all-natural Men's Fertility Supplement to help you realise your dream of becoming a dad. Plus, improving your overall health will make it easier for you to chase after a little one when the time comes!
This article was created for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the views of For Chaps Ltd. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.