Folic Acid and Zinc Benefit Male Fertility

arginine foodWith “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

In a research project conducted in the Netherlands, scientists found a link between higher sperm count and supplementation with zinc sulphate and folic acid1.

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.

The Results

father and baby shadesScientist 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.

Dad with baby

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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. has carefully compared the top 12 products in terms of value for money and fertility nutrients.

Click the button to read the comparison of male fertility supplements


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  1. Wong WY, Merkus HM, Thomas CM, Menkveld R, Zielhuis GA, Steegers-Theunissen RP. Effects of folic acid and zinc sulfate on male factor subfertility: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Fertility and Sterility. 2002. 77(3): 491-8
  2. Tikkiwal M, Ajmera RL, Mathur NK. Effect of zinc administration on seminal zinc and fertility of oligospermic males. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. 1987. 31(1): 30-4
2 replies
  1. Michael
    Michael says:

    How about doing a study on men of all ages who’ve had vasectomy reversals and are having problems achieving pregnancy. I notice that we are forgotten as far as all these studies go and will experience the most problems achieving a pregnancy!

  2. bigamist
    bigamist says:

    men who have had vasectomies and vasectomy reversals should not be passing down their poor life decision making skills to the rest of the gene pool


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