The EclecticPhysician

The Eclectic Physician
Q&A Archive
By Dr. Beth Burch

Nutrients helpful increasing sperm count.

Q.

Do you know of anything that would help a male who has a very low sperm count?

A.

Start with the conventional medical recommendations of keeping the testicles cool and treating any infections (they can have no other symptoms) or endocrine imbalances like low thyroid or low pituitary hormones. Wear loose fitting underwear and pants, avoid hot tubs and hot showers and use a cold water to cool the testicles after exercise or during hot weather. Your doctor can check for and treat infection, hormone imbalance or abnormalities of the reproductive tract. He can also help you identify any medications which might be interfering with normal sperm production.

Since good general health is important for adequate sperm production, eat a healthy diet, exercise, decrease caffeine and alcohol intake and stop smoking. Since estrogen can impair male fertility, avoid dietary sources of estrogen like meat and dairy products or use organic meat and dairy. Decrease your intake of saturated fat which can interfere with sperm motility and survival and increase your intake of essential fatty acids necessary for sperm formation. Especially avoid cottonseed oil, since cottonseed contains a substance called gossypol, which is being investigated as a male contraceptive.

There a number of specific nutrients which have been shown to be helpful in increasing sperm counts and motility. Vitamin C and other antioxidants like vitamin E, beta-carotene and selenium help protect sperm from free radical damage. One study showed a 140% increase in sperm count in one week with a supplement of 1000 mg of vitamin C daily. Most impressive was that after 2 months all of the vitamin C supplemented men's wives were pregnant. Vitamin E is especially important in protecting sperm cell membranes and has been shown to increase the ability of sperm to fertilize an egg in a t est tube.

Zinc is another important nutrient for sperm formation and motility as well as normal testosterone levels. Low sperm count accompanied by low testosterone levels has been shown to respond well to a supplement of 60 mg of zinc daily with all the patients more than doubling their sperm counts in 1-2 months.

One study with vitamin B12 supplementation of 1000 mcg per day had 27% of patients increase sperm counts from less than 20 million/ ml to over 100 million/ ml. The amino acids arginine and carnitine have also been studied and help to increase sperm counts and motility.

Both Chinese and Siberian ginsengs have been shown in animal studies to increase sperm counts, but you should not use these herbs if you have high blood pressure or heart disease.

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* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate. It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

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