Often when people think of adjusting their diet to optimize fertility, they only think of female infertility. But does food matter when it comes to male fertility? That’s a big yes. It takes two to tango, and men should also be adjusting their diet 3 months prior to trying to conceive. Infertility is due to 30% female factors, 30% male factors, 30% due to both female and male factors, and 10% due to unknown factors. So, men certainly play an equal part when it comes to fertility. Below are some key dietary considerations for male fertility. To find out more about this topic, we interviewed Amanda Smith, accredited practicing dietitian from Verde Nutrition Co. to find out more about how we can tailor our nutrition plans and diet routines to be a bit better for male fertility and conception. It’s all about coming together in partnership to ensure a smooth and safe pregnancy. Keep reading for more on this topic and information from our experts below!
Does Food Matter When it Comes to Male Fertility?
Here are some factors that might positively impact male fertility and parts of your nutrition that work well for conception. Consuming these foods or incorporating them into your diet or lifestyle may help you or your partner become more fertile.
Omega-3 fatty acids: When you eat omega-3 fatty acids, found mostly in oily fish, they tend to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Research has found supplementation and dietary intake have been associated with increased sperm count, motility (movement), concentration and morphology (shape).
The Mediterranean diet: the Mediterranean dietary pattern has been positively associated with sperm count and motility.
Consuming Selenium: selenium is an important nutrient for spermatogenesis (maturation process of male germ cells), and supplementation has been associated with improved concentration, motility and normal shape. The richest sources include brazil nuts, seafood and organ meats.
Consuming Zinc: zinc plays a role in sperm health and men have higher requirements of zinc due to losing zinc in ejaculate. Dietary sources include dairy products,
nuts, seeds, legumes, meat, chicken, eggs and fish.
CoQ10: plays a role in protecting sperm from oxidative damage. Dietary sources include oily fish, organ meats, whole grains and certain nuts/seeds.
Folate: plays a key role in spermatogenesis, so it’s also important that males ensure adequate folate levels when trying to conceive. Dietary sources include fortified breads/cereals, green leafy vegetables and legumes.
Vitamin C and Vitamin E: These vitamins both act as antioxidants and play protective roles for sperm. Food sources include an array of fruits/vegetables, nuts and seeds, and wheat germ.
Here are some factors that can negatively impact male fertility and parts of your nutrition that might not work well for conception. Consuming these foods or incorporating them into your diet or lifestyle may help you or your partner become more infertile.
Alcohol: heavy alcohol consumption in males has been negatively associated with sperm count, shape and motility as well as disruptions to hormone levels important for conception. It is recommended to reduce intake as much as possible (ideally no more than one to two standard drinks per week) when preparing to conceive to begin your conception journey.
Body mass: a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18.5 kg/m2 and a higher BMI have both been negatively associated with male fertility.
Processed meat: research shows regular intake of processed meat may negatively impact sperm quality.
Trans and saturated fats: intake of trans and saturated fats have been negatively associated with total sperm count and/or sperm concentration.
Soft drink consumption: Some studies have found regular soft drink consumption is linked to not the greatest fertility in both men and women.
Meet our Expert:
Verde Nutrition Co provides telehealth nutrition servicing, so you can access the best dietitian for you, from the comfort of your home. Having access to a dietitian who has expertise in your individual area of need should be an easy, stress free process – and not have barriers of geographic location or time stopping you from seeing the best dietitian for you. Verde’s team of online dietitians are some of the best in the country, and are available for you to see via telehealth – so you don’t need to leave the comfort of your home or office, worry about traffic or parking fines, or spend your hard earned dollars seeing someone who does not have the level of expertise you need. Visit them online to learn more about the services they offer and see if Verde is a good choice for you!