Markers of health

Healthy sperm are an important factor in male fertility. If you’re trying to conceive, you can improve the quality of your sperm by choosing the right foods.

Markers of sperm health include:

  • Sperm count. The concentration of sperm cells in a given sample is an important marker of sperm quality.
  • Sperm morphology. The average size and shape of sperm cells in a sample is an indicator of fertility.
  • Sperm motility. Motility refers to movement. Sperm cells must be able to swim to reach and fertilize an egg cell.
  • Semen volume. A minimum volume of semen is required to carry sperm cells through the female reproductive tract.

How to Increase Low Sperm Count and Improve Male Fertility

Read below on to find out which nutrients and foods promote sperm health.

1. Zinc

Zinc has been shownTrusted Source to play a role in regulating sperm count and quality. Men who are infertile tend to have lowerTrusted Source zinc levels than men who are fertile.

You can up your intake by eating:

  • oysters
  • red meat and poultry
  • shellfish, such as crab and lobster
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • nuts and beans
  • whole wheat grain products
  • dairy

Purchase zinc supplements here.

Fertility – 5 Best Natural Ways to Boost Fertility Level for Men & Women

2. Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 is a critical nutrient to overall sperm health. ResearchTrusted Source has shown that it improves sperm motility, increases sperm count, and reduces sperm DNA damage.

You can up your intake by eating:

  • fish and seafood, especially clams
  • meats and poultry, especially liver
  • dairy products, such as eggs and milk
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • nutritional yeasts

Purchase vitamin B-12 supplements here.

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that plays an important roleTrusted Source in male fertility. Increasing vitamin C intake has been shown to improveTrusted Source sperm motility, count, and morphology.

You can up your intake by eating:

  • citrus fruits and their juices
  • sweet peppers
  • other fruits, such as kiwi, strawberries, and cantaloupe
  • other vegetables, such as tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, potatoes
  • fortified breakfast cereals, dairy, and other food products

Purchase vitamin C supplements here.

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D supplements have been linked to increasesTrusted Source in testosterone and improvedTrusted Source sperm motility.

However, another studyTrusted Source found that levels of low vitamin D aren’t a risk factor for poor sperm quality. More research is needed to truly understand whether vitamin D has an effect.

You can up your intake by eating:

  • oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna
  • beef liver
  • cheese
  • egg yolks
  • fortified milk, yogurt, and other food products
  • mushrooms

Purchase vitamin D supplements here.

5. Vitamin E

Along with other antioxidants, vitamin E may help improveTrusted Source sperm quality. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties that protectTrusted Source sperm from damage.

You can up your intake by eating:

  • plant-based oils, such as corn, safflower, sunflower, and soybean oils
  • nuts and seeds
  • green vegetables, such as broccoli and spinach
  • fortified juices, margarines, and other food products

Purchase vitamin E supplements here.

6. Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, is an antioxidant that all living cells need to function. ResearchTrusted Source shows that CoQ10 supplements can increase semen quality in men who are infertile.

You can up your intake by eating:

  • meats and poultry, especially beef and chicken
  • fish, such as herring and trout
  • plant-based oils, including soybean and canola oil
  • nuts and seeds, especially peanuts, sunflower seeds, and pistachios

Purchase CoQ10 supplements here.

7. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3s have wide-ranging health benefits, including enhancedTrusted Source sperm count, motility, and morphology.

You can up your intake by eating:

  • fish and seafood, especially salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines
  • nuts and seeds, including chia seeds, flaxseed, and walnuts
  • plant-based oils, such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oil
  • fortified eggs, yogurt, and beverages

Purchase omega-3 supplements here.

8. L-arginine

An amino acid, L-arginine appears to play several different roles in male fertility. Inside the body, it transforms into nitric oxide, which promotes sperm function.

L-arginine supplements have been found to increase sperm count in rabbits at certain doses. However, the same study found that too high of a dose of L-arginine decreased sperm motility. You should talk to your doctor about how L-arginine may affect you before adding more to your diet.

You can up your intake by eating:

  • meats and poultry, such as pork loin, turkey, and chicken
  • nuts and seeds, especially pumpkin seeds and peanuts
  • beans and lentils
  • dairy products

Purchase L-arginine here.

9. Maca root

Lepidium meyenii, more commonly known as Maca root, has been linked toTrusted Source male fertility. Evidence is mixed, though.

Maca doesn’t seem to affectTrusted Source testosterone levels. A separate studyTrusted Source found that Maca positively impacted sperm concentration and motility, but more research is needed to support this finding.

Purchase Maca root here.

10. Ginseng root

Ginseng supplements may improveTrusted Source several factors related to sperm health, including count and motility. Ginsenoside, an active ingredient in ginseng, may stimulateTrusted Source nitric oxide production, which is related to sperm function.

You should talk to your doctor before consuming ginseng. It’s associated withTrusted Source changes in blood pressure and other potentially harmful side effects.

Purchase ginseng root here.