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Infertility in men. How to quickly improve low sperm count - Oligospermia

by Pure Food Supplements
Infertility in men. How to quickly improve low sperm count - Oligospermia

Infertility in men. How to quickly improve low sperm count - Oligospermia



A third of infertility can be attributed to male-factor and male-factor infertility/subfertility is a relatively common condition affecting men. Recent data seems to suggest a decline in sperm count and sperm quality in men. Even though the causative factors are yet to be fully understood and appreciated, things like nutrition and lifestyle habits are considered to be potential causes.


Overview of the Male Reproductive System

The male reproductive organ is made up of the paired testis (where testosterone and sperm are produced), scrotum (compartment for testis localization), epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate gland, bulbourethral gland, ejaculatory duct, urethra, and the penis. During ejaculation, the average male releases about 100 - 200 million sperm, and each day about 100-300 million sperm are produced.


How to improve low sperm count - Oligospermia


Stop Smoking

Smoking is known to have detrimental effects on our health including human longevity, respiratory and cardiovascular health. In a world where smoking has become common; approximately 21% of women of reproductive age and 22% of men of reproductive age in the United States smoke cigarettes; it is important to understand how cigarette smoking can lead to infertility issues for males. Lots of medical research supports the fact that smoking can negatively affect almost every aspect of the male reproductive system.

Cigarette smoking can negatively affect sperm count, motility, and morphology. Some studies have also suggested that there is no “safe” amount of cigarette smoke intake when it comes to maintaining healthy sperm. There are scientific studies that have confirmed that smokers tend to have lower sperm counts and significantly lower sperm concentrations.

These studies indicate that smokers suffer from oligospermia or even azoospermia, causing infertility challenges due to the lack of viable spermatozoa. A study that looked at the effects of cigarette smoking on semen characteristics of a population in Mexico concluded that Smokers had significantly poorer sperm density, a lower percentage of viability, a lower percentage of normal sperm morphology, and the percentage of motile sperm was lower.

Cigarette smoking has also been linked to seminal fluid. This fluid plays an important role in male fertility as it provides the spermatozoa nutrition and protection during their travel through the female reproductive tract. Some experiments have indicated that when spermatozoa from non-smokers come into contact with the seminal fluid of smokers, the spermatozoa display reduced motility. This is not seen when spermatozoa from smokers come into contact with the seminal fluid of non-smokers. This goes to suggest that sperm quality is not the only factor in male infertility but also seminal fluid.


Weight Management and Obesity

According to the World Health Organisation, overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a health risk. A body mass index (BMI) over 25 is considered overweight, and over 30 is obese. Obesity and overweight are a growing problem globally and in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, we classed as being overweight. Of the 1.9 billion overweight people, 34% of them were classed as obese.

It is common knowledge that obesity has been associated with cardiovascular diseases, however, recent studies have identified how obesity affects male fertility. There has been a growing trend in rising obesity and decreasing sperm quality over time which has caused researchers to posit a potential link between obesity and male infertility.

There have been numerous studies that have been carried out to identify the link between obesity and male infertility with not-so-consistent results. For example; one study that looked at the potential role of central obesity in male infertility found a potential role of central obesity for progressive motility and total sperm count, but not for normal morphology and concentration. Another study reported in 2012 concluded that overweight and obesity were associated with an increased prevalence of azoospermia or oligozoospermia. On the other hand, another study that looked at body mass index in relation to semen quality concluded that despite major differences in reproductive hormone levels with increasing body weight, only extreme levels of obesity may negatively influence male reproductive potential.


Below is a summary of some research and its findings on obesity and male infertility





The Mechanisms Involved in Obesity-Induced Male Infertility

Heydari et al.


There is significant evidence that obesity resulted in male infertility. Obesity has a negative effect on male reproductive function via several mechanisms such as inflammation and oxidative stress.

The potential role of central obesity in male infertility: body mass index versus waist to hip ratio as they relate to selected semen parameters

Keszthelyi et al


Our findings indicate a potential role of central obesity for progressive motility and total sperm count, but not for normal morphology and concentration. Despite the limitations and the exploratory nature of this study, we can conclude that our results point to a potential role of central obesity in male infertility, but this finding should be confirmed and further explored in future research

The role of leptin and obesity on male infertility

Khodamoradi et al


Excessive leptin production may be a significant contributor to the development of androgen insufficiency and reduced reproductive function in obese men

Effects of cigarette smoking on semen characteristics of a population in Mexico

Merino et al


Smokers had significantly poorer sperm density (P < .005), a lower percentage of viability (P < .007), a lower percentage of normal sperm morphology (P < .005), and the percentage of motile sperm was lower (P < .005)

Obesity impairs male fertility through long-term effects on spermatogenesis

Jia et al


Nutritional obesity can damage spermatogenesis in male rats due to long-term effects on spermatogenesis


Even though there is no consensus on the effects of obesity on male infertility, the majority of the research and data out there suggests that obesity has a negative impact on semen parameters, including sperm count/concentration, motility, viability and normal morphology.


Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is about having the right balance of different food groups. Fresh fruits and vegetables form a key part of a healthy diet and should be incorporated into our daily meals. A healthy diet has positive impacts on our general well-being.

According to the NHS, to have a healthy diet, people should try to:

  • eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day (see 5 A Day)
  • base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
  • have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
  • eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
  • choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts
  • drink plenty of fluids (at least 6 to 8 glasses a day)

It is also known to support male reproductive function. In a research study involving 701 young Danish men, those with higher intakes of saturated fat were found to have lower sperm counts with the highest quartile experiencing 41% lower count than those in the lowest quartile.

Another research that sought to establish the associations between periconceptional dietary patterns and semen quality parameters established positive associations between strong adherence to a healthy dietary pattern and semen parameters in men with poor semen quality. The semen quality parameters were ejaculate volume, sperm concentration, total sperm count, progressive motility, immotile sperm, and total motile sperm count.

Another study involving 7282 males concluded that greater intake of a “Western diet” is associated with poorer sperm concentration and normal sperm morphology, a “High sweet snacks and sugar-sweetened drinks” intake is correlated with a lower sperm concentration, and high-carbohydrate food is related to elevated prevalences of abnormal total sperm motility and progressive motility.

There is some evidence that suggests that environmental estrogens in dairy foods may be related to lower semen quality. Some research studies have shown that an intake of milk and other dairy products are related to low semen quality and other studies have found the inverse. A lot of the studies that have reported this have stated that these associations are driven primarily by the intake of cheese and are independent of overall dietary patterns. One study concluded that cheese intake is associated with lower sperm concentration whereas low-fat milk was positively associated with sperm concentration and progressive motility.

Fruits, vegetables, and legumes have been shown to have positive effects on sperm count in men. In a study that looked at the dietary habits of patients, it found that patients with normal sperm quality parameters have a higher intake of lettuce and tomatoes and some fruits. The same study concluded that frequent intake of lipophilic foods like meat products or milk may negatively affect semen quality in humans.

Foods and drinks high in sugar have been found to increase insulin resistance which in turn increases oxidative stress which can also negatively impact sperm quality.


To help improve sperm count, the following foods should not be encouraged;

  • Processed meats
  • Foods with trans fats
  • High-fat dairy food products
  • Sugars


Dietary Supplements

The role of dietary supplements in supporting general health is well known. About 80% of Americans (2021) use supplements and these products are now mainstream and broadly accepted and trusted by the American people. There are also numerous studies that have researched the role of dietary supplements in improving male fertility. These studies have investigated several vitamins, minerals and these include l -arginine, beta-carotene, biotin, L -carnitine (LC), selenium, Vitamins A, C, D, and E, and zinc.

The majority of fertility supplements primarily focus on reactive oxygen species and limiting their detrimental effects on sperm. Sperm is highly sensitive to oxidation and reactive oxygen species and its function may be impaired by them. Fertility supplements that contain antioxidants or the right micronutrients decrease reactive oxygen species and support healthy sperm parameters including sperm count.

Order Mens Fertility Vitamins

There is sufficient evidence that indicates that vitamin C and E and carnitines are useful at improving relevant seminal parameters and possibly pregnancy rates. The same applies to the use of selenium, vitamin A, zinc, coenzyme Q10, and arginine.

Vitamin E which is a fat-soluble vitamin supports the male reproductive function by acting as a free-radical scavenger. Increasing vitamin E intake, even solely in a patient’s diet, is associated with improved semen parameters including sperm count.

A study that looked at the Improvement in Human Semen Quality After Oral Supplementation of Vitamin C concluded that vitamin C supplementation in infertile men might improve sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm morphology and might have a place as an additional supplement to improve the semen quality towards conception.

The right male fertility supplement has been shown to have a positive effect on male sperm parameters – motility, count, and morphology

When using a male fertility supplement to improve low sperm count, it should contain at least the following vitamins and minerals;

  • Vitamin C
  • L-Arginine
  • Zinc
  • Folic Acid
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E

The absence of any of these in the supplement may only reduce its efficacy.

Click here to read about Steps to getting pregnant


Reduce alcohol intake

According to the NHS, alcohol misuse is when you consume alcohol in a way that’s harmful, or when you’re dependent on it. Drinking alcohol is common usually in social settings and is generally acceptable. However, if not controlled, the use of alcohol can result in physical, social, and psychological harmful effects.

The excessive use of alcohol has been linked to many harmful diseases including liver cancer, esophageal cancer, and many others. It has also been linked to fertility issues in both men and women.

There is no prescribed threshold for consuming alcohol when it comes to how it affects male infertility. Also, not all types of alcoholic beverages have a similar negative effect on sperm parameters. For example, spirits and beer were shown to have negative impacts on sperm concentration and total sperm count but the same effect was not seen with wines.

Majority of the research out there on alcohol and male infertility has established that alcohol affects male infertility by reducing sperm volume and increasing the number of sperm with abnormal morphology. In addition, excessive alcohol consumption has a borderline correlation with sperm motility.

A study that analyzed data from 189 infertile men concluded that both heavy smokers and heavy drinkers had worse seminal parameters than moderate smokers/drinkers and nonsmokers/abstainers. Concomitant heavy smoking and heavy drinking had an even more detrimental impact on semen parameters, supporting more severe forms of male infertility.

As such, it is important for men who are trying to become fathers to abstain from alcohol if they want to procreate and lead a normal sexual life.

Read about Causes of infertility in men and women


Key Takeaway

It is estimated that 1 in 7 couples in the UK may have fertility challenges. Male factor infertility accounts for about 30% of infertility issues in couples and 30-40% are due to both male/female or unknown reasons. Improving low sperm count requires making lifestyle changes including eating healthy diets, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking and alcohol intake, and taking fertility supplements to fill in any vitamin/nutrient gaps you may have.



Glossary (Terms)

Aspermia – The complete lack of semen with ejaculation

Azoospermia – Medical term when you produce semen containing no sperm

Oligozoospermia or oligospermia – Sperm concentration is low, less than 16 million per ml

Asthenozoospermia or asthenospermia – <40% sperm motility or less than 32% with progressive motility

Teratozoospermia – Less than 4% of the sperm are normally shaped

Poor viability – less than 54% are alive

Pyospermia or leucospermia – presence of large number of white blood cells (more than one million/mL) in the semen, often associated with an infection



Du Plessis, S., Agarwal, A. and Sabanegh, E., 2014. Male Infertility. New York, NY: Springer.

Watson, R., 2015. Handbook of fertility. Amsterdam [u.a.]: Elsevier AP.

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