Words by Stephen Eddey, naturopath and nutritional consultant with Australis Natural Health.
As the physical bearer of children, women often feel as if reproductive health and fertility are our individual responsibility. However, in 40% of reported cases, fertility issues reside with men.
With the majority of information about fertility geared towards women it is vital that men also receive the correct information as there is a common perception that men aren’t as susceptible to fertility issues and are unrestricted by time. Although this bares some truths, after the age of 40, men can experience reproductive health problems which may continue to worsen as a result of chemicals, pesticides, smoking, alcohol, chronic stress, excess body fat, physical injury, and inflammation.
The major fertility issue is often a result of unhealthy sperm and/or low sperm count (less than 20 million sperm per mL). Here are some simple supplements to help boost his ‘boys’.
A recent study has revealed that the reduced form of naturally produced CoQ10, known as Ubiquinol contains elements which improve and protect sperm. Ubiquinol is a powerful antioxidant that is present at high levels in sperm. It protects sperm cells from damage and additionally plays a role in sperm cell energy production and motility (read: their swimming prowess). Taken from CoQ10 – which is produced organically within our bodies – Ubiquinol is easily absorbed and works to support semen parameters in infertile male amongst other preventative actions.
Zinc is one of the most valuable nutrients for male reproductive health. It is found in high concentrations in the testes, sperm and prostate. Zinc deficiency is a common nutrient deficiency in men (and women), which is associated with male infertility, impotence, low testosterone levels and decreased sperm count. Zinc is also required for spermatogenesis (production of sperm) and for healthy sperm motility. Consuming zinc can help to naturally increase testosterone levels and in turn, boost sex drive…not that they need it.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant found in the testes, which protects sperm from free radical damage. It also plays a role in spermatogenesis, the process in which spermatozoa are produced from male germ cells, and has been found to boost semen quality and sperm motility. This important nutrient also helps reduce sperm agglutination (clumping), which can contribute to male fertility problems. Remember those three-legged races? If sperm are stuck together, it’s much harder for them to swim. Studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin C can increase sperm count, motility and morphology in infertile men.
So how much should you take? Supplementing with around 2-3g of vitamin C daily is recommended, along with including foods rich in vitamin C into your daily diet such as citrus fruits, broccoli, cabbage, berries, kiwi fruit, capsicums, papaya and kale.
This nifty mineral has strong antioxidant properties and has been shown to protect sperm from free radical damage. A study completed in Scotland, found that selenium supplementation also improved sperm motility. Plus, selenium is beneficial for effective thyroid hormone synthesis, which is believed to play a role in women’s fertility, making this the perfect dietary addition for not only your man but you too. Just two Brazil nuts per day will give you more than your recommended daily intake of Selenium – just think, two nuts make good swimmers.
Beetroot is rich in folate, which is also known as vitamin B9. As well as great benefits for reducing fatigue, B9 specifically has been linked in research to low sperm count.
Beetroots are also rich in nitrates, which have been shown to improve blood flow, making them popular among athletes for performance, but also a recommended dietary staple to women undergoing IVF, to improve blood flow to the uterus.
Blackmore Conceive Well Men is scientifically formulated to support sperm health. It contains Ubiquinol, coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, zinc and selenium.
Stephen Eddey has completed a Bachelor of Complementary Medicine (Charles Sturt University) and a Masters of Health Science (Southern Cross University).
Stephen’s areas of expertise include: vitamin/mineral supplements, arthritis, heart disease, obesity, female hormonal conditions, hormones, neurobiochemistry, cancer, immune related disorders, special purpose foods for fat loss and detoxification and low carbohydrate diets.