Worried about their chances of reproducing, some men are concerned about their sperm count, especially as studies such as those reported in Nursing Times show sperm counts continue to fall among all men in Western society. In addition to healthy lifestyle choices, such as eliminating tobacco, drinking alcohol very moderately, exercising daily and wearing boxers instead of briefs, following a sensible diet can help you increase your sperm count.
A natural amino acid, L-carnitine increases the production and speed of sperm; sperm need to have a normal shape and be able to travel quickly to fertilize the egg. You can ensure that you have adequate levels of L-carnitine by eating a 4-oz. serving of red meat a day. Lamb is especially high in this amino acid. Whole milk is another good source, as are fish and poultry, whole wheat, peanut butter, and asparagus.
The body also needs L-arginine to produce sperm, and increased doses of L-arginine increase sperm count, mobility and fertility. This amino acid is found in nuts, dairy, meat and fowl, cereals such as oats and wheat, and chocolate.
Also known as L-lysine and vitamin B9, folic acid increases sperm production. Commercial breakfast cereals often add folic acid to their recipe, but you can also find high levels in beef liver, spinach, asparagus and great northern beans. In addition, many vitamin supplements for men include folic acid in their ingredients.
Zinc is also essential to not only sperm production but semen production as well. Oysters, eggs, seafood, black-eyed peas, tofu and wheat germ are all high in zinc levels.
Vitamin C helps sperm from clumping together, which would prevent successful transport to the egg. Vitamin C is easily found in foods such as citrus, leafy green vegetables and peppers.
Generally, a healthy lifestyle also encourages healthy sperm production. Lose weight to a recommended level. Less alcohol lowers estrogen levels, which compete against testosterone--essential for sperm production. Eating food (not necessarily meat) that is high in protein and low in fat, with lots of fresh or steamed vegetables and whole grains will be better for the whole body and your sperm. Avoid spicy or greasy foods that cause indigestion, which in turn produces toxins that inhibit semen and sperm production. Also avoid coffee, teas and colas, as caffeine also decreases fertility.
- Nursing Times; Sperm Count Study Shows Fall. Seonaid Strachan-Bennett; Jan 13, 2004
- Mayo Clinic: Healthy sperm: Improving your Fertility
- Minerva Urol Nefrol; L-arginine and Male Infertility; M Scibona, PMeschini, S Capparelli, et al.; 1994