Fertility

Don’t skip these 6 key nutrients if you’re looking for a sperm health boost, says this Urologist

Emma Harpham in partnership with Dr Brian Steixner at Popstar Fertility  |   18 Apr 2024


What vitamins should a man take when trying to conceive?

And, should he even try sperm health supplements to begin with? The answer is – in a word – absolutely.

Male factor infertility accounts for roughly 50% of fertility issues in couples.

And whether you’ve already tested his sperm, or you’re prepping to start your trying to conceive journey and want to make sure you’re covering all bases, the good news is that there’s a helpful host of micronutrients that are proven to boost the health of his swimmers. 

But, it’s not always easy to know if we’re getting exactly what we need nutrients-wise.

Enter Popstar Fertility – a brand new, all-natural sperm health supplement that gives you all of the key nutrients you need in one, with a pinpoint precision formula.

Designed by Ivy League-trained men’s health doctors, their combination of twelve ingredients including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is designed to support and enhance male reproductive health and fertility.

Want to try them out? Skip straight to Popstar and get 20% off your first order with code TRB, right now.

We picked up with Dr Brian Steixner, board-certified Urologist and Co-Founder and CEO of Popstar, to dive a little deeper into the importance of sperm health supplements, the sperm health nutrients to know, plus other eating tips for healthy sperm, and more.

Over to Dr Steixtner, for the 101.

popstar-fertility-supplement

What do we mean when we say sperm health? 

Sperm health includes all aspects of sperm quality that are needed to accomplish the male side of fertility.

Within this, there are four main parameters we evaluate: 

  • Sperm count – the number of total sperm
  • Sperm motility – the ability to swim
  • Sperm morphology – how healthy each sperm is
  • The health of the sperm DNA

When targeting sperm motility, we’re looking to make sure the sperm are moving in straight lines and not erratically, so they’re able to move through the female reproductive system. 

Improving sperm morphology focuses on the structure and shape of each sperm, maximizing the tail for swimming, midpiece (contains mitochondria or engine of the sperm), as well as the head. 

Finally, sperm DNA health means the sperm has the correct number of chromosomes and that there are limited abnormalities in this vital genetic information.

sperm-health-supplements

Sperm health supplements and male fertility nutrition – why should we care?

Food is medicine, with everything we put in our body being broken down and repurposed into all of our vital processes. 

Eating bad food leads to disease – diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer, infertility, etc. Good food leads to health. 

This all applies to the very specific physiology of spermatogenesis, aka. how sperm develop. 

Understanding where our diet can impact this process allows us to eliminate the bad, but also very strategically support the good. Together with exercise, sleep, healthy diets, and stress management, it can be the key to moving from infertility to fertility.

What vitamins should a man take when trying to conceive?

The research into the vitamins and minerals men need is robust. 

It tells us that the key ingredients men need for sperm health are: 

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Folic Acid
  • L-carnitine
  • L-Arginine
  • L-glutathione
  • Zinc
  • N-acetyl cysteine
  • Co-enzyme Q
  • Vitamin b12
  • Selenium

Each one of these has a vital role in sperm development, maturation and function

While the exact mechanism of each is different and complex, they are each important and necessary. Missing one can disrupt the entire system – think of it like having a brand-new car but no gas or tyres. You need them all for success!

sperm-health-nutrients

What are the top key nutrients to look for in a sperm health supplement?

 1. Vitamin C and Vitamin E  

For: Sperm count, morphology and motility

Vitamins C and E are essential antioxidants that protect the body’s cells from damage from oxidative stress and free radicals. These vitamins may even work together to improve sperm function.

Vitamin C is one of the most abundant antioxidants in the semen of fertile men, and it contributes to the maintenance of healthy sperm by protecting the sperm’s DNA from free radical damage. It has also been shown to increase sperm count, motility, and morphology. 

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps protect the sperm’s cell membrane from damage. Plus, studies have shown that vitamin E improves sperm motility, and that men with low fertilization rates who took vitamin E supplements for three months showed a significant improvement in fertilization rate.

 2. Coenzyme Q10

For: Sperm motility and count

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a co-factor with antioxidant properties involved in mitochondrial energy production. 

It is essential in maintaining the efficient energy system of sperm and protecting their membranes from lipid peroxidation. 

Accordingly, low CoQ10 levels have been associated with several conditions determining infertility, such as varicocele and oligozoospermia (low sperm count).

 3. Zinc

For: Sperm motility, morphology and count

Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a role in sperm formation, testosterone metabolism, and cell motility. 

Supplementation with zinc has also been shown to increase testosterone levels, sperm count, and sperm motility.

4. L-Carnitine

For: Sperm motility

L-carnitine is an amino acid derivative produced by the body that functions to transport fat so it can be broken down for energy. 

It is also thought to have antioxidant properties, though l-carnitine’s primary benefit is to provide energy for sperm and increase sperm motility.

 5. Folic Acid

For: Sperm morphology and count

Folic acid is a B vitamin that is necessary for DNA synthesis. Low levels of folic acid have been associated with a decreased sperm count and decreased sperm morphology. 

In a recent study, the combination of zinc and folic acid resulted in a 74% increase in total normal sperm count in less fertile men.

6. L-glutathione

For: Sperm motility and morphology

A glutathione deficiency can lead to instability of the sperm’s midpiece, resulting in poor motility. The glutathione/reductase system forms excellent protection against oxidative damage to the sperm plasma membrane.

Plus, in a study consisting of infertile men with unilateral varicocele or genital tract inflammation, glutathione led to significant improvement in sperm quality. 

If we’re currently TTC, what other sperm health nutrients might we want to keep topped up? 

Other nutrients to look for in your sperm health supplements include: 

  • N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) – a powerful antioxidant found to significantly improve sperm motility.
  • Selenium – a trace mineral that also functions as an antioxidant, increasing sperm motility and decreasing damage from free radicals.
  • L-arginine – a key player in modulating host defences and cellular immunity. It also actively participates in sperm formation. 
  • Vitamin B12 – linked to increased efficacy of male reproductive organs and energy production by sperm, decreased toxicity and inflammation.

Supplementing with minerals and vitamins is absolutely part of a healthy fertility journey – and Popstar Fertility has all of the nutrients you need for maximizing sperm health. 

food-for-healthy-sperm

Against the backdrop of a targeted supplement routine, what food for healthy sperm would you recommend?

For best results, supplementation needs to be done in conjunction with a healthy diet. 

When it comes to food for healthy sperm, here are my top three recommendations:

1. We might want to include omega-3 fatty acids that can be found in fish.
2. Fruits and veggies are great for anti-oxidants like CoQ10 and Vitamin C.
3. There is some data that shows walnuts can help with sperm health as well.

Any other diet tips for healthy sperm, or things to avoid?

 A diet with lots of processed foods, red meat, fatty dairy, coffee, alcohol, sweet drinks and sweets, smoking, and simultaneously deficient in whole-grain products, vegetables and fruits, poultry, fish and seafood, nuts, and lean dairy is associated with poorer semen parameters and reduced fertility.

However, balance and health are everything. We do not recommend one specific diet as this is oversimplified. Diet is only one component, and my other tips for healthy sperm include coupling diet with exercise, sleep, stress management, and risk reduction.

Ready to give your partner’s sperm a boost? Get started by building a kick-ass supplement into your routine.

Head to Popstar, and use code TRB for 20% off your first order.

Be sure to explore their handy subscription options, and dive into their library of top-notch male fertility education, too.

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