Both male and female fertility is strongly influenced by diet. More specifically, there are certain amino acids, vitamins, minerals and trace elements that support healthy fertility and improve the chances of conception.
If sub-fertility is a problem, making dietary adjustments can be an effective way to boost fertility, without the need for pharmaceuticals or some other form of medical intervention.
Increases Sperm Count
One of the key amino acids for producing sperm is arginine. It’s found in high concentrations within sperm, especially within the head. Increasing the intake of arginine will support the production of healthy sperm and enhance sperm count.
Carnitine, a compound synthesised from essential amino acids lysine and methionine, is also very important for a healthy sperm count.
Improves Sperm Morphology
If arginine is lacking within the body, sperm morphology will be adversely affected. This is partly because this amino acid is an important precursor for vital compounds in sperm, such as spermine, putrescine and spermidine.
Boosting arginine concentration will help to support healthy sperm formation.
Boosts Sperm Motility
In addition to supporting sperm production and morphology, arginine and carnitine are also important for motility. Studies have shown that these amino acids help with the transport of fatty acids and the conversion of glycol into energy to propel the sperm forward, increasing fertilisation potential.
Insufficient arginine and carnitine concentrations will restrict sperm motility.
Protects Sperm Integrity
The underlying leading cause of sub-fertility in men is oxidative stress as a result of free radical damage to sperm. Boosting carnitine and glutathione concentrations can help to protect sperm from oxidative stress. Both these amino acids are important antioxidants known to improve sperm quality, especially glutathione.
Research has revealed that sub-fertile males have lower concentrations of glutathione in comparison with fertile males. Fertility studies show that glutathione supplementation enhances sperm motility and morphology.
Dietary Sources of Arginine, Carnitine & Glutathione
A diet rich in the amino acids lysine and methionine (required to produce carnitine), arginine and glutathione will help to improve fertility.
Arginine rich foods: whole grains, nuts, seeds, soy, poultry, dairy products, seafood, red meat and eggs.
Glutathione rich foods: walnuts, peaches, watermelon, avocado, broccoli, peas, tomatoes, red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, garlic, onion and brussel sprouts.
Other Important Nutrients to Support Fertility
In addition to amino acids, there are other important compounds needed for healthy fertility. Zinc helps to support antioxidant enzymes and when deficient, fertility declines.
Some good food sources for this trace element include beef, lamb, oysters, liver, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ and peanuts.
Vitamin C is important for stopping sperm agglutination (clumping or sticking together), increasing sperm count and reducing oxidative stress. Fresh fruit and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C, especially strawberries, oranges, papaya, kiwi fruit, brussel sprouts, broccoli, capsicum and cauliflower.
Another important antioxidant needed for healthy sperm is selenium. This compound assists with motility and sperm production. Good sources of selenium include brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, fish, poultry, eggs, mushrooms, onions and grains.
The vitamin-like substance Coenzyme Q10 found within mitochondria supports healthy sperm production and motility. Ideal food sources for coenzyme Q10 include grapeseed oil, olive oil, soybean oil, avocado, spinach, sesame seeds, beef, chicken and peanuts.
Paying close attention to diet and ensuring that the body has access to vital amino acids, vitamins and minerals will naturally boost fertility. Increasing the intake of amino acids lysine, methionine, arginine and glutathione can make a big difference in increasing fertility, as well as overall vitality. Anyone struggling to maintain a healthy diet may benefit from dietary supplements specific for supporting fertility.