Understanding what influences sperm health is critical to understanding sperm health. Sperm health is determined by the quantity, quality, and motility of sperm (ability to move). Men with low sperm count, poor sperm quality, or poor sperm motility may struggle to conceive. In some cases, male sperm quality is affected by lifestyle habits, which are frequently the same ones that doctors advise patients to avoid due to long-term health risks. Here are some lifestyle changes that can help improve sperm quality.
How to Improve Sperm Quality
1. Exercise Regularly
Aside from being good for your overall health, regular exercise can increase testosterone levels and improve fertility.
Men who exercise regularly have higher testosterone levels and better sperm quality than inactive men, according to studies.
However, excessive exercise may have the opposite effect and potentially lower testosterone levels. Getting the right amount of zinc can help to reduce this risk.
If you rarely exercise but want to improve your fertility, prioritise physical activity.
2. Get Enough Vitamin C
You're probably aware of vitamin C's ability to strengthen the immune system.
Some research suggests that taking antioxidant supplements, such as vitamin C, may help with fertility.
When levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the body reach harmful levels, this is referred to as oxidative stress.
It occurs when the body's own antioxidant defences are overburdened by disease, ageing, an unhealthy lifestyle, or environmental pollutants.
ROS are constantly produced in the body, but their levels are kept under control in healthy individuals. ROS levels above a certain threshold may promote tissue injury and inflammation, increasing the risk of chronic disease.
There is also evidence that oxidative stress and excessively high levels of ROS may contribute to male infertility.
Getting enough antioxidants, such as vitamin C, may help mitigate some of these negative effects. Additionally, there is some evidence that vitamin C supplements may improve sperm quality.
In a study of infertile men, taking 1,000-mg vitamin C supplements twice a day for up to two months increased sperm motility by 92% and sperm count by more than 100%. It also reduced by 55% the proportion of deformed sperm cells.
3. Relax and Minimize Stress
It's difficult to get in the mood when you're stressed, but there could be more to it than just not feeling up for sex. Stress can decrease sexual satisfaction and impair fertility.
Cortisol, according to researchers, may explain some of the negative effects of stress.
Prolonged stress raises cortisol levels, which have a strong negative impact on testosterone. When cortisol levels rise, testosterone levels fall.
While medication is usually used to treat severe, unexplained anxiety, relaxation techniques can help with milder forms of stress.
Stress reduction can be as simple as going for a walk in the woods, meditating, exercising, or spending time with friends.
4. Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D may be beneficial to both male and female fertility. Another nutrient that may increase testosterone levels.
According to one observational study, men who were deficient in vitamin D were more likely to have low testosterone levels.
These findings were supported by a controlled study of 65 men with low testosterone levels and vitamin D deficiency. Taking 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily for a year increased their testosterone levels by approximately 25%. (28Trusted Source).
High vitamin D levels have been linked to increased sperm motility, but the evidence is mixed.
5. Take Fenugreek Supplements
Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek) is a popular culinary and medicinal herb.
One study looked at the effects of taking 500 mg of fenugreek extract daily on 30 men who strength-trained four times a week.
When compared to a placebo, the men had significantly higher testosterone levels, strength, and fat loss.
Another study in 60 healthy men found that taking 600 mg of Testofen, a fenugreek seed extract and minerals supplement, daily for 6 weeks improved libido, sexual performance, and strength.
Another, larger study of 120 healthy men confirmed these findings. Taking 600 mg of Testofen every day for three months improved self-reported erectile function and sexual activity frequency.
6. Consider Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a medicinal herb that has been used since ancient times in India.
According to research, ashwagandha may improve male fertility by increasing testosterone levels.
It specifically increased sperm counts by 167%, sperm volume by 53%, and sperm motility by 57% when compared to baseline levels. In comparison, only minor improvements were observed in those who received a placebo treatment.
These advantages could be attributed in part to increased testosterone levels.
A study of 57 young men who had completed a strength-training programme found that taking 600 mg of ashwagandha root extract daily increased testosterone levels, muscle mass, and strength significantly more than a placebo.
It's important to note that these lifestyle changes may not improve sperm quality for everyone and that some men may need medical treatment to improve their sperm quality. If you are concerned about your sperm quality or if you are trying to conceive and are having difficulty, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider for evaluation and treatment.
- Ahmadi (2016, December). Antioxidant supplements and semen parameters: An evidence based review - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5203687/
- G. M, Blanchard (2016, March). Decline in sperm count and motility in young adult men from 2003 to 2013: Observations from a U.S. sperm bank - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26789272
- Hauser, (2014, November). Paternal physical and sedentary activities in relation to semen quality and reproductive outcomes among couples from a fertility center - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25164027
- Rafiee, B., Morowvat, M. H., & Rahimi-Ghalati, N. (2016, April 16). Comparing the effectiveness of dietary vitamin C and exercise interventions on fertility parameters in normal obese men - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27085565
- Wise, L. A., Cramer, D. W., Hornstein, M. D., Ashby, R. K., & Missmer, S. A. (2011, March). Physcial activity and semen quality among men attending an infertility clinic - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0015028210027767