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Human sperm is of surprisingly low quality compared to other mammals. Worse, from a historical perspective it is deteriorating at an alarming rate.

In recent years several natural micro nutrients have been clinically proven effective at increasing quantity & quality of sperm and therefore increasing the probability of pregnancy.


You will learn

The benefits of all thirteen fertility nutrients (nutraceuticals)

The benefits of fertility supplements

References to over 40 clinical studies for further information


In recent years a large number of clinical studies has been conducted on the fertility-enhancing effects of certain micro nutrients. These include several vitamins, amino acids and trace elements. These fertility nutrients are also often called “nutraceuticals” with respect to their health benefits.

The studies have shown that in combination these nutrients are able to more than double both motility (movement) and number of sperm cells in just three months1. In fact, the number of sperm cells moving well and thus able to fertilise eggs is most often quadrupled.

This synergistic effect is achieved when nutrients work on multiple systems affecting viable sperm in unison:

Amino acids help provide sperm building blocks and energy, they also work with several three vitamins as antioxidants reducing oxidative stress protecting the sperm’s precious cargo (DNA). Trace elements help with sperm metabolism and male sexual hormone levels.

Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid. It improves circulation, especially in tissues with thin capillaries, the smallest type of blood vessel, because it contains nitrogen. L-arginine is the only precursor for the production of the essential for the production of Nitric Oxide (NO). NO has variously been called the Molecule of Life, Molecule of the Decade or Wonder Molecule, because of its importance in regulating the tension of blood vessels.

NO therefore regulates the rate of blood flow and consequently the supply of nutrients throughout the body. This regulation of blood vessels means that it is indispensable for healthy functioning arteries and circulation.

arginine improves circulationUrologists recommend taking arginine in their dietary treatment of erectile dysfunction for this reason. It helps blood flow to the penis. Arginine is also used in many other metabolic processes.

In particular, high concentrations of arginine are needed for the creation of sperm and other chemicals in semen. A low level of arginine in the body can be seen in conjunction with lower sperm production.

It has been directly proven that taking arginine supplements leads to better sperm development (both in more ejaculate and better motility). 2 Indirectly, arginine also leads to a better chance of pregnancy due to its strengthening of erections and thus the prospect of more frequent sexual intercourse.

This effect can, however, only be seen when taking a minimum daily dose of at 3000mg of arginine per day. Recent research has found that Pine Bark Extract further increases the effectiveness of L-arginine in producing NO3


Carnitine is a substance similar to amino acids which is well-known for transporting fatty acids into the centre of cells for the provision of energy. This transfer of fatty acids for energy could not function without carnitine.

carnitine is crucial in fat metabolismLow carnitine levels have not only been observed in relation with obesity and metabolic problems with weight, however. Carnitine is also found in high concentrations in the male epididymis, the organ responsible for sperm production at the back of the testicles.

Several studies, each with over 100 participants, have shown that taking carnitine supplements increases the number of sperm cells and their movement, and that the number of sperm with normal appearances (morphology) is significantly raised. 4 These effects on sperm quality have been observed even more markedly in smokers.

Carnitine is manufactured to different qualities, and Carnipure® is the purest of all carnitine supplements on the market. The patented fermentation process offers optimal protection against harmful impurities which other manufacturing processes cannot guarantee.


Gluthathione is a combination of the three amino acids glycine, cysteine and glutamic acid, put together under the name of GSH. For that reason, it is known as a tripeptide. Glutathione has distinctive antioxidative, detoxifying and immunological properties.

glutathione strengthens the immune defenceIt is the only key antioxidant, which acts inside the cell. All other antioxidants work outside the cell membranes.

The influence of glutathione on sperm quality has been examined in a randomised placebo-controlled study. After taking glutathione for two months, a significant advance in sperm cell movement and the proportion of normal looking sperm cells could be detected. 5 In a further study in 2005, scientists determined that glutathione protects against oxidative damage to sperm. 6

male infertilitySelenium supports the metabolism of glutathione and contributes to a reduction in difficulties with processing oxygen. In this way, selenium can promote the improvement in male fertility.





Healthy spermatozoons, floating to ovule

Coenzyme Q10 is a vitaminoid which is important for energy production in humans and which acts as a major antioxidant. It is present in the centre of sperm cells and is responsible for their energy production.

It has been verified in several studies that taking coenzyme Q10  has positive effects on the movement (mobility) and number (count) of sperm cells


Zinc plays an essential role in the formation of well over 200 enzymes and is responsible for normal reproductive function in men. A lack of zinc leads to male sexual hormone deficiency and thus to a lower number of sperm cells.

zinc supplements

Different studies have shown that taking zinc supplements influences the quality of sperm. In one study, the men who took 24mg of zinc per day had their average sperm count rise from 8 million sperm cells to 20 million per millilitre of ejaculate after just 50 days.

In another study, men were given 89mg of zinc per day over four months. The number of sperm cells and their movement improved significantly; 20% of the participants’ partners fell pregnant during the 4 month period. 7


folic acid levels are correlated with sperm quality

Vitamin E is a powerful fat-soluble (dissolves in fat) antioxidant and protects the very sensitive membranes (outer layers) of cells.

Several studies on male fertility have proven that vitamin E can considerably improve the movement of sperm cells. 8 It also improves the sperm cells’ ability to penetrate the egg cell. 9 The recommended dose should come to at least 120mg per day.



human spermThe amount of vitamin C in the plasma of ejaculate fluid is remarkably high. A lack of vitamin C can lead to infertility and damaged sperm cells. The amount of vitamin C needed by the body is particularly high in smokers because nicotine uses up vitamin C.

In a high quality study using placebos as a control, 75 smokers were given either a placebo, 200mg of vitamin C or 1000mg of vitamin C every day for 60 days.

In the participants who took 200mg of vitamin C, the number of healthy sperm present in samples reached around 112%, and in those who took 1000mg, 140%. Especially of note is that after the 60 days, every single participant who had taken vitamin C supplements had got their partner pregnant successfully – but none of those who took placebos achieved the long-awaited for pregnancy. 10 Vitamin C works closely with zinc in its metabolism and should always be taken alongside zinc – in itself an important substance for sperm health.


Just as in the case of several other vitamins, the amount of folic acid in many people’s daily diets is much less than the recommended minimum for healthy young people. For people who have high levels of stress, alcohol consumption or nicotine consumption, or very poor diets, their deficiency in folic acid is even higher.

This is an excellent video explaining the benefits and sources of folic acid:

Folic acid is essential and important in male procreation as well as during pregnancy. In a study run by the American Department of Agriculture, it was proven that the level of folic acid in the blood stream and in seminal plasma (ejaculate) directly correlated with the concentration and total number of sperm cells. 11 Therefore, an adequate supply of folic acid is necessary in order to produce the optimum number of sperm cells.



Vitamin A is thought to play a key role in sperm cell formation12. Further studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis13.

The human body needs sunlight in order to produce Vitamin D, often called the fertility vitamin, because a lack of it has been most conclusively linked to infertility14.

In a 2006 study15 vitamin D receptors were first discovered in the head, nucleus and mid-pieces of human sperm pin-pointing vitamin D’s integral role in sperm health.

A study investigating the role of vitamin D in human sperm16 confirmed the presence of vitamin D receptors (VDR) in sperm and concluded that vitamin D offers therapeutic opportunities in the treatment of the male reproduction disorders.

An Italian study has shown that vitamin D status may be an important determinant of sperm capacitation – necessary for the sperm to penetrate the egg – and how well sperm freezes. The study concluded that vitamin D concentrations may have an important role in sperm survival and the acquisition of fertilizing ability14.

Furthermore, a large study in 2012 examined mother’s vitamin D levels and their relationship to birth weights. This study conclusively showed that babies of women, who are deficient in vitamin D during the first trimester of their pregnancy, are twice as likely to suffer growth restrictions in the uterus. 18

How much vitamin D should I take?

When attempting to conceive, Vitamin D should be supplemented in quantities of 4000 IU (0.01 mg or 10 µg) according to formal research 19.


Vitamin B12 is an important member of the B vitamin complex. It is involved in a range of functions within the body, including sperm production. This vitamin is instrumental in DNA maturation and duplication. When vitamin B12 is scarce, sperm count declines and infertility may result. Several studies have shown that increasing B12 availability through injections or oral supplementation can help to boost sperm count to healthy levels20, 21.

Even men not deficient in vitamin B12 have been shown to improve reproductive health. This may be because this vitamin is also important for metabolism and red cell production. Associated improved circulation is also essential for erectile function. In some cases, men suffering from erectile dysfunction have insufficient access to vitamin B12. Maintaining an adequate supply of this vitamin will support both stronger erections and a higher sperm count.

Pine Bark Extract (also called Pycnogenol) has both direct and indirect benefits on male fertility

Direct Benefits

Pine Bark Extract improves sperm morphology22. Nineteen subfertile men were given 200 mg Pycnogenol daily orally for 90 days. Semen samples were analyzed before and after treatment for sperm count, motility score and strict morphology before and after capacitation, and mannose receptor binding. Pycnogenol therapy resulted in

  • improved capacitated sperm morphology by 38%
  • and a correlated23 19% improved mannose receptor binding, a critical measure for the ability of a sperm cell to penetrate a female egg http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/11/9/1905.full.pdf

The increase in morphologically and functionally normal sperm may allow couples diagnosed with teratozoospermia (abnormal sperm morphology 24) to forgo in vitro fertilization (IVF, saving a large amount of money in the porcess) and either experience improved natural fertility or undergo less invasive and less expensive fertility-promoting procedures, such as intrauterine insemination.

Indirect Benefits

Erectile dysfunction is relatively widespread in men and is considered a statistical factor in male infertility. The most common causes are circulation problems and loss of flexibility of the blood vessels.

The endothelial tissue on the inside wall of the arteries often produces insufficient nitric oxide to widen the artery, improve blood flow and regulate the blood pressure. Mainstream medicine uses PDE-5 inhibitors, but a combination of pine bark extract and the amino acid, L-arginine can also help the body more easily product nitrogen oxide (NO) and increase blood flow in the male sex organ.

Several studies have confirmed this enhanced effect.

1) In 2003, Stanislavov undertook a clinical study of men between the ages of 25 and 45 with erectile dysfunction. Some were given arginine only, while others were given arginine combined with pine bark extract25. The intake of 1,700 mg of L-arginine alone with ineffective, but taking L-arginine together with 80-120mg of pine bark extract gave an improvement of erectile function in approximately 80 per cent of the men.

2) This study was replicated in 2008, taking 50 men with an average age of 40. The results showed an improvement in erective function in over 90 per cent of the men, and a significant increase in male sexual hormone levels26.

3) Another study has confirmed that the combination of pine bark extract and Arginine is the best non-pharmacological method to tackle the main causes of erectile dysfunction without any side effects.27



Watch our summary on youtube

Sourcing the Nutrients


  • Change your diet and eat fresh red meat for Arginine and Carnitine daily. Also eat white meat like chicken and porc for L-cysteine and L-glutamine to maximise your body’s L-glutathione production. In order to achieve the desired effect you must further eat fruit and vegetables, especially dark and leafy greens for vitamins and folic acid.  
  • If you prefer to minimise meat consumption as well as time & money spent, a convenient alternative is to take a male fertility combination food supplement. They combine many of the above amino acids, trace elements, vitamins and vitaminoids proven effective in improving sperm quality readings into a cost effective and convenient supplement.


Pregnancy test - happy surprised woman
Supplements recommended for the initial treatment of oligospermia (low sperm count) and asthenospermia (low motility)

A detailed and easily readable paper on the effectiveness of the various nutrients was written by Steven Sinclair’s Male Infertility: Nutritional and Environmental Considerations.

In addition you can also adjust your behaviour such as minimising your sperms’ exposure to heat and exercise and eating more unprocessed foods



Male Fertility Supplement Benefits

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Effective after three months28,29
  • Increase sperm motility by up to 23%30
  • Increase ejaculate volume by up to 33%31
  • Increase sperm count by up to 215%32
  • Without side effects


Whilst a varied diet is essential, supplements are able to deliver key nutrients in the required quantities more effectively and efficiently than any regular diet. 

A supplement is recommended for two groups of men:  Men who are planning for a child and 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 10 of them in terms of value for money and nutrients provided.

Read the comparison of the top 12 male fertility supplements


  1. “http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/5/1/28.pdf”
  2. “Schachter, A., et al.; Treatment of Oligospermia with the amino acid L-Arginine; Journal of Urology, 110 (3); 310-313; 1973”
  3. ‘Enseleit, F., et al. “Effects of Pycnogenol on endothelial function in patients with stable coronary artery disease: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over study,” European Heart Journal, published Epub ahead of print”
  4. “Mataliotakis et. al.; L-Carnitine levels in the seminal plasma of fertile and infertile men: correlation with sperm quality; International Journal Fertil Women; 2000 Med 45; 236-240 und: Khdemi et al.; The effects of L-Carnitine on sperm parameters in smoker and non-smoker patients with idiopathic sperm abnormalities; J Assist Reprod Genet 2005; 22 (11-12); 395-9”
  5. “A. Lenzi, F. Culasso, L. Gandini et al.; Placebo-controlled double-blind, coss-over trial of glutathione therapy in male infertility, Human Reprod 1993; 8(10): 1657 – 1662”
  6. “Eskiocak, S., et al.; Glutathione and free sulphydryl content of seminal plasma in healthy medical students during and after; Human Reprod 2005; 20(9): 2295-600”
  7. “Tikkiwal M, Ajmera RL, Mathur NK. Effect of zinc administration on seminal zinc and fertility of oligospermic males. Indina J Physiol Pharmacol 1987; 31; 30-34”
  8. “Suleiman SA, Ali ME et al.; Lipid peroxidation and human sperm motility: protective role of Vitamin E. J Andol 1996:17: S. 530-537”
  9. “Kessopoulou E, Powers HJ, Sharma KK et al.; A double-blind randomized placebo cross over controlled trial using the antioxidant vitamin E to treat reactive oxygen species associated with male infertility. Fertil Steril 1995:64: S. 825-831”
  10. “Dawson EB, et al.; Effect of ascorbic acid on male infertility; Ann N Y Acad Sci 1987; 498: S. 312-323”
  11. “Wallock LM et al.; Low seminal plasma folate concentrations are associated with low sperm density and count in male smokers and nonsmokers; Fertil Steril 2001; 75: 252-259”
  12. “http://www.news-medical.net/news/20110318/Vitamin-A-may-play-key-role-in-sperm-cell-formation-and-development-of-central-nervous-system.aspx”
  13. “http://www.jbc.org/content/286/4/2877”
  14. “J Anat 2008 Nov;213(5):555-64. Human sperm anatomy: ultrastructural localization of 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D receptor and its possible role in the human male gamete. Aquila S et al.”
  15. “Urology 2006 Dec;68(6):1345-9. Vitamin D receptor found in human sperm. Corbett ST, Hill O, Nangia AK”
  16. “Reprod Biol Endocrinol 2009 Nov 30;7:140. Human male gamete endocrinology: 1alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) regulates different aspects of 4. human sperm biology and metabolism. Aquila S. et al.”
  17. “J Anat 2008 Nov;213(5):555-64. Human sperm anatomy: ultrastructural localization of 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D receptor and its possible role in the human male gamete. Aquila S et al.”
  18. “http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/early/2012/11/16/jc.2012-3275.abstract?sid=2a4896e4-ec5b-4c76-8046-de22685ca921”
  19. “Wagner, Carol L.; Sarah N. Taylor, Adekunle Dawodu, Donna D. Johnson and Bruce W. Hollis (21). “Vitamin D and Its Role During Pregnancy in Attaining Optimal Health of Mother and Fetus”. nutrients 4 (3): 208-230. doi:10.3390/nu4030208. PMID 22666547. Retrieved 14 October 2012″
  20. “Sandler B, Faragher B. (1984). Treatment of oligospermia with vitamin B12. Infertility, Volume 7:133–8.”
  21. “Kumamoto Y. et al. (1988). Clinical efficacy of mecobalamin in treatment of oligozoospermia. Acta Urologica Japonica, Volume 34:1109–32.”
  22. “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12418064”
  23. “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12425765”
  24. “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teratospermia”
  25. “R. STANISLAVOV & V. NIKOLOVA (2003) “Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction with Pycnogenol and L-arginine”, Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 29:3, 207-213”
  26. “R Stanislavov1, V Nikolova1 and P Rohdewald, “Improvement of erectile function with Prelox: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial”; International Journal of Impotence Research (2008) 20, 173–180; doi:10.1038/sj.ijir.3901597”
  27. “Lamm S, Schönlau F, Rohdewald P. Prelox for improvement of erectile function: a review. Eur Bull Drug Res 2003; 11: 29–37”
  28. Padubidri, VG; Daftary, SN, eds. (2011). Shaw’s Textbook of Gynaecology (15th ed.). p. 201. ISBN 978-81-312-2548-6”, e-SPEN, the European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Epub published ahead of print.”
  29. “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spermatogenesis#Duration”
  30. “Imhof, Martin et al., “Improvement of sperm quality after micronutritient supplementation”, e-SPEN, the European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Epub published ahead of print.”
  31. “Imhof, Martin et al., “Improvement of sperm quality after micronutritient supplementation”, e-SPEN, the European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Epub published ahead of print.”
  32. “Imhof, Martin et al., “Improvement of sperm quality after micronutritient supplementation”, e-SPEN, the European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Epub published ahead of print.”