How can the quality of sperm be improved? Sperm sorting, dietary supplements, and medicinal herbs
In this article, we’ll review methods to improve sperm quality. The methods presented in this article are sperm sorting, dietary supplements, and medical herbs. The good news is that the quality of sperm can definitely be improved.
This method was conceived by Prof. Bartov. The sperm is examined at 6,000x magnification and the best sperm cells (in terms of morphology, motility, etc.) are selected for fertilization.
This improves the number of good quality embryos and the chances of them culminating in a healthy pregnancy.
In addition, according to research, sperm sorting can prevent choosing abnormal sperm that was not detected by the embryologist during the fertilization process.
Taking multivitamins daily
It’s best to start taking them 3 months before you want to be pregnant.
The main mechanism by which vitamins improve fertility is by increasing the quantity of antioxidants available to the developing sperm. Antioxidants bind radicals and thus protect testicular tissue as well as sperm proteins and DNA from being damaged. Indeed, sperm is particularly susceptible to this type of damage as it does not contain any of the cell repair systems found in other cells. Because of this, cellular damage caused by free radicals (oxidative stress) can be related to poor sperm parameters as well as decreased fertility and pregnancy rates.
The rationale behind the use of multivitamins is that the antioxidants they contain reduce oxidative stress, which can be beneficial to the sperm. The main benefit of vitamins in such a scenario is that they provide more antioxidants than a male can consume normally through their diet.
People who want to improve their antioxidant profile should eat foods rich in antioxidants, such as black beans, berries (blueberries, strawberries), dark chocolate, fruits like oranges and apples, nuts, milk, carrots, apricots, spinach, peppers, avocados, and tomatoes.
A study of several meta-analyses concluded that although most of the studies that were reviewed showed a significant linkage between antioxidant supplements and one or two parameters of sperm, still prescribing supplementations, such as L-carnitine, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin E, may still lead to an improved sperm concentration, motility, and morphology, and sometimes also affect DNA integrity.
Below is a list of recommended vitamins:
- 3 grams of glutathione
- 400 mg of vitamin E
- 225 grams of selenium
- 1000 mg of vitamin C
- 60 mg of zinc
- 200 mg of Coenzyme Q10
- 220 mg of zinc sulfate
- 2 grams of L-carnitine
- 200 mg of lycopene (a pigment found in tomatoes and red fruits)
You can read more about this topic in Diet for improving the quality of the sperm.
Studies show that vitamin B12 has a positive effect on the quality of the sperm and especially on increasing the sperm count. As a result, vitamin B12, taken in a regular or a therapeutic dose, is essential for proper sperm quality.
Vitamin C is an extremely important antioxidant that protects the immune system and, in men, vitamin C improves sperm quality and motility.
Vitamin C is found in red peppers, strawberries, citrus fruits, kiwis, tomatoes, mangoes, cherries, and more.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that is responsible for many enzyme systems in the body. It supports chemical reactions in the body, helps to detoxify whatever is impairing fertility through the liver, and is responsible for converting the food we eat into cellular energy.
Magnesium is needed by humans in significantly large quantities. Magnesium can be found in the following foods: dairy products, breads and grains, legumes. Vegetables and meat are also all good sources of magnesium. However, processing the above foods can lead to a significant depletion of magnesium.
Magnesium is also responsible for enzymatic functionality in men; therefore, infertility in men is also associated with lower magnesium levels, so it’s important that men also take this supplement.
In addition, magnesium is a supplement that relieves stress. Magnesium deficiency causes the stress hormone, cortisol, to increase. Stress lowers magnesium levels in the body. When this happens, the body’s natural balance is destroyed and all other hormones can be affected by this. Maintaining optimal levels of magnesium is one way to prevent stress from overwhelming us and destroying the natural balance that is essential for a well-functioning, healthy reproductive system.
Calcium is an important mineral that is involved in many biological processes, and it is important that both men and women take it to prevent nutritional deficiencies in the body. Over time, calcium-related nutritional deficiencies can lead to bone loss and other diseases.
According to research, calcium deficiency in men can cause infertility and a lower rate of fertilization. This is because calcium participates in the production of sperm. The level of calcium in men with infertility problems should therefore be monitored.
Low zinc levels could lead to a higher probability of miscarriage. The body needs zinc in order for the enzymes to work with estrogen and progesterone. Important for both men and women, zinc can improve all areas of reproduction.
Zinc can improve the quality, motility, and morphology of sperm, and improve male fertility as a whole. Iranian researchers from Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences examined the levels of zinc and other minerals and the connection to the sperm count and sperm quality, and concluded that low zinc consumption in food could be a risk factor for poor sperm cell quality and for fertility disorders in men.
Men can take multivitamins and minerals
Multi-Male contains premium nutrients that are specifically adapted to the unique needs of men, even at an advanced age. The formula contains extremely high doses of B vitamins, including B12, B6, and folic acid (some in the form of cofactors to improve bioavailability). It also contains standard medicinal herb extracts that work synergistically, such as saw palmetto, lycopene, nettle, and pygeum as well as a standard extract from the ginseng root family – Siberian, Korean, and American. Additionally, it contains minerals and other nutrients to improve physical activity.
A team of Chinese researchers examined the bacterial distribution of 96 sperm samples. They found that the amount of lactobacillus bacteria (the same type of probiotic bacteria beneficial to female fertility and health) was generally higher in sperm samples taken from healthy, fertile men and lower in sperm samples taken from unhealthy, infertile men.
A separate study done on mice found that oral administration of the lactobacillus reuteri probiotic (again, one that is beneficial for women’s health) led to an increase in sperm count and testicular mass, and to the improved overall health of the male reproductive organs.
Below are the strains that appear again and again in research as being beneficial to reproductive health and helping to prevent and treat infections:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus reuteri
- Lactobacillus plantarum
Coenzyme Q10 supplement
Although not widely known, CoQ10 is one of the most important nutrients in the body. The human body is made up of trillions of cells and, within almost every cell, there are thousands of mitochondria. Mitochondria are known as the ‘power force’ of the cell because they produce the energy needed for the cell to function in the form of ATP (a type of organic compound that allows energy to be carried in the cell and is therefore of paramount importance).
CoQ10 and its active form, ubiquinol, is an enzyme that helps produce more than 95% of the energy in the cell and is responsible for promoting ATP production in the inner membrane of the mitochondria.
Who needs CoQ10?
CoQ10 is a micro-nutrient that is at the basis of all life processes in the body and is the molecule essential for the production of ATP energy. We naturally synthesize CoQ10 in every cell and can obtain lower concentrations of it from dietary sources. However, from about age 20, our natural ability to produce CoQ10 begins to decline.
So what’s the difference between CoQ10 and ubiquinol?
There are two types of CoQ10:
- Ubiquinone (CoQ10)
- Ubiquinol (‘active’ CoQ10)
Both forms of CoQ10 exist naturally in the body; however, our body needs to convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol before it can be used to generate energy. It can worsen with age as the body’s ability to produce CoQ10 and convert it to ubiquinol decreases as we get older.
Ubiquinol does not have to be converted, which allows it to be absorbed immediately and rapidly. Ubiquinol is the only known fat-soluble antioxidant that is produced naturally in the body, a unique property that is shared by the ubiquinone form of CoQ10.
Ubiquinol can be found in dietary sources, like chicken breasts, avocado, and olive oil; however, you would need to eat insane amounts of it to reach the relevant level.
The antioxidant properties of ubiquinol
Ubiquinol is known to be one of the most powerful antioxidants, and it protects cells from excessive buildup that can damage free radicals and cause oxidative stress.
Studies conducted on how to improve sperm quality using ubiquinol have revealed encouraging results. As is well known, ubiquinol/CoQ10 supports the production of energy in the mitochondria of our cells. Because the large middle part of the sperm cell is a mitochonodria-laden nucleus, ubiquinol is essential for transporting the sperm cell to its destination. A 26-week trial showed that ubiquinol can help to support healthy sperm. The results showed that the quality of the sperm increased in the following areas:
- 62% improvement of the sperm count
- 57% increase in semen motility
- 52% increase in normally shaped sperm
Studies also show that the CoQ10 supplement improves the parameters of the sperm and the level of antioxidants in men. It was observed that men who took a 400 mg dose per day had a more marked improvement than men who took 200 mg per day.
Alpha lipoic acid
This supplement has antioxidant properties and there is evidence that it improves fertility. For example, studies have found that this antioxidant can improve egg maturation and the viability of the embryo. The results of this study show that there is an improvement in sperm motility after soaking it with alpha lipoic acids at a concentration of 0.02 mm/ml. This concentration was also able to reduce DNA damage.
This study shows that there was an improvement in sperm motility as a result of incubation with alpha lipoic acids at a concentration of 0.02 ml. This concentration is also able to reduce DNA damage.
To summarize, alpha lipoic acids provide a protective layer to the sperm and thus improve the quality of the sperm.
After being treated with NAC, which is an antioxidant, the sperm count and motility of patients increased significantly while abnormal morphology, DNA splitting, and protein deficiency showed significant decreases compared to their pre-treatment levels.
An improvement in the hormonal profile is associated with a decrease in FSH and LH levels and an increase in the amount of testosterone. The NAC dietary supplement can improve the sperm parameters and the oxidant/antioxidant status in infertile men.
Omega 3 is known to promote fertility, especially in men. Long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids – DHA have been found in high concentrations in semen, suggesting that DHA molecules are important for the count, maturation, and functioning of these cells. In addition, studies have found that higher levels of omega 3 are correlated with improved morphology and sperm motility.
A study shows that infertile men have a lower concentration of omega 3 in their sperm cells than fertile men.
Another study shows that the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 in the sperm cell membrane is of paramount importance for preserving the normal functioning and integrity of the sperm. In humans, there is a strong positive relationship between sperm motility and DHA concentrations of the sperm membrane.
L-acetyl-carnitine and L-carnitine
These are important amino acids, whose activity in the various cells and tissues significantly contributes to maintaining the proper functioning of the body.
Research shows that adding L-acetyl-carnitine and L-carnitine to sperm samples in the testicle can lead to improved sperm motility quality and chromatin quality (the DNA along with the accompanying proteins).
L-arginine 500/1000 mg
L-arginine is involved in a wide variety of important processes in the body. L-arginine is the only one of the various amino acids that is the source of NO. It participates in the process of vascular relaxation, thus improving the flow of blood to the tissues and organs. L-arginine facilitates the prevention of impotence and infertility in men because it is necessary for sperm formation, motility, and a normal sperm count.
Medicinal herbs that improve the quality of sperm:
Tribulus terrestris is a medicinal herb that promotes fertility among men who have a history of a poor quantity and quality of sperm.
Research has shown that use of the tribulus terrestris extract significantly improves overall sperm motility and sperm quality and that there is a significant increase in the sperm count.
Serenoa serrulata (saw palmetto)
This medicinal plant regulates male hormone levels, is an anti-inflammatory, improves sperm quality and count (quantity and motility), and improves male potency.
The plant strengthens and nourishes the internal systems of the body and improves blood circulation.
Korean Ginseng (Panax Ginseng)
This plant root is considered to be a source of strength and nourishment to the body in general, and can mainly help to fortify the male reproductive system. The plant has stimulating, invigorating, and warming properties, and is known to strengthen the activity of the nervous system and the hormones. In addition, ginseng fortifies the output of the heart muscle and improves blood circulation throughout the body.
To remove any doubt, the contents of this article are intended to serve as a general overview only, and the information in it does not relate to a product nor is it intended to provide guidance, it does not comprise a certified medical recommendation, and it is not intended to instruct the public or to be used by it as advice, instruction, or a recommendation for the use, modification, or stopping use of any medication, and does not comprise a substitute for personal or other medical advice. Pregnant women, lactating women, children, and anyone taking prescription drugs must consult a doctor before using dietary supplements.