With “male factor” infertility on the rise, more and more research is focusing on genetic and environmental factors, which are thought to contribute to male sub-fertility.
Zinc and Folic Acid Increase Sperm Count
During this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, patients from nine midwifery practices and two outpatient fertility clinics where assessed to determine the effects of folic acid and zinc sulphate on fertility. The study involved 103 sub-fertile men and 108 fertile men.
Both groups were assigned randomly to one of four different treatment regimes. For a period of 26 weeks, the male participants received either folic acid and a placebo, zinc sulphate and a placebo, two placebos, or folic acid and zinc sulphate. The daily dose of zinc sulphate was 66 mg and folic acid 5mg.
Prior to starting the supplementation, all study participants undertook standardised semen samples to ascertain sperm motility, concentration and morphology. Blood samples were also taken to determine the concentration of foliate and zinc. These tests were repeated again following 26 weeks of supplementation.
Scientist found a 74% increase in total normal sperm count within sub-fertile men who received both folic acid and zinc sulphate supplementation. Researchers pointed out that sperm concentration not necessarily increased to meet the basic fertility measure of 20 million cells/mL.
However, the observed increases were significant and suggests a beneficial effect. These findings have also been supported by earlier studies2.
Not only did normal sperm count improve in infertile patients, fertile men also recorded an elevated healthy sperm count following supplementation with both zinc sulphate and folic acid. Although the overall benefit of these trace elements for improving male fertility are still largely unknown, this research has highlighted their importance.
Further studies may be able to determine optimal concentrations of zinc sulphate and folic acid for enhanced fertility.
Male Fertility Supplements
Many male fertility food supplements include both nutrients together with various other fertility enhancing vitamins and amino acids. A supplement is recommended for two groups of men:
Firstly, men who are planning for a child and secondly, men who have already been diagnosed with suboptimal semen analysis readings. Both groups will benefit from supplementing micronutrients to ensure they can deliver high-quality semen.
The European market is saturated with many male fertility supplements. However, the products differ significantly in terms of nutrients and price.
Menfertility.org has carefully compared the top 12 products in terms of value for money and fertility nutrients.
- “Wong, W. et.al. (2002) Effects of folic acid and zinc sulfate on male factor subfertility: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, Fertility and Sterility, Volume 77, Issue 3 (pp.491-8). ↩
- “Tikkiwal M. et.al. (1987) Effect of zinc administration on seminal zinc and fertility of oligospermic males. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, Volume 31 (pp30-4). ↩