Tips for Naturally Increasing Sperm Count
Many male sexual functions affect semen quality and fertility, like libido and erectile dysfunction. Sperm count is another factor of fertility that couples who want to become pregnant should consider. The sperm count is the average total number of sperm that are present in a semen sample. According to the National Infertility Association, a normal sperm count is 40 million to 300 million per milliliter.
A low sperm count is 10 million or less per milliliter. It may make conception difficult and is often associated with male infertility. Many men who struggle with low sperm counts feel embarrassed or ashamed. However, becoming a parent can still be a reality for those with low sperm counts.
If you have low sperm counts, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help. Here are our tips for naturally increasing sperm count.
1. Get Regular Exercise
Exercising is one of the first steps to take to increase your sperm count. It increases men’s testosterone levels, which improves semen quality. Keep in mind, though, that it’s a balance — too much exercising has been shown to reduce testosterone levels, but getting adequate zinc levels should help prevent this.
Men with excess weight should consider exercising to lose weight. A 2012 study showed that men with a healthy BMI had less immobile sperm than men who were deemed to be overweight or obese.
2. Take Time to Relax
Stress can make sex less satisfying and reduce fertility. Prolonged stress raises cortisol levels, which inhibits testosterone levels. Lower testosterone may decrease sperm count. Take the time every day to unwind with activities you enjoy.
3. Stop Smoking
Smoking cigarettes negatively affects many areas of your health, including fertility. Research has proven that men who regularly smoke have lower sperm count and lower sperm motility levels. Heavy smokers may also have lower semen quality. Quit smoking as soon as you can to help your fertility.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Sleeping for seven to eight hours every night is essential for fertility health. Getting too little or too much sleep affects sperm counts. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep every night.
5. Snack on Antioxidant-Rich Foods
Various vitamins and minerals are classified as antioxidants. Antioxidants remove and deactivate compounds that damage cells and may increase your sperm count. Some antioxidant-rich foods to increase in your diet include:
- Citrus fruit and juices
- Plant-based oils
- Green vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Beef and chicken
6. Avoid Soy
If you make any changes to your regular diet, be sure to avoid consuming too much soy. It contains plant estrogen, called phytoestrogens, that is known to reduce men’s sperm production.
7. Lower Your Alcohol Intake
Reducing the number of drinks you have, or cutting alcohol out of your diet completely, may boost your sperm counts. Alcohol may impair semen quality and lower fertility.
8. Reduce Your Exposure to Environmental Toxins
Pollution and toxic materials may affect your sperm count. Limiting your exposure to these substances may improve your sperm count as well as your overall health. Some things to limit include:
- Radiation and X-rays: Radiation is known to be harmful to healthy sperm production.
- Heavy metals: Exposure to heavy metals may contribute to fertility issues.
- Industrial chemicals: Substances such as pesticides, lead, painting materials, herbicides and similar may make your sperm count low.
- Overheating the testicles: The testicles have a different temperature threshold than the rest of your body to keep sperm healthy. Certain activities, such as wearing tight clothing, visiting a sauna and working for long periods with a laptop on your lap, may make your scrotum too warm and lower sperm counts.
9. Get Enough Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc
To increase sperm count, take supplements for or eat more foods that have:
- Vitamin C: Oxidative stress occurs when factors like an unhealthy lifestyle impair the body’s antioxidant defenses, and it can lead to infertility in men. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that may help fertility. One study showed that men who took 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C every day for two months saw significant increases in sperm count and motility and a reduced proportion of deformed sperm cells.
- Vitamin D: An observational study on vitamin D showed that men increased their testosterone levels by at least 25% when they took 3,000 IU or more of vitamin D3 every day for one year.
- Zinc: This mineral is essential for male health because it can increase testosterone and sperm count levels.
10. Take a Fenugreek Supplement
Fenugreek is a medicinal herb that has been linked to male sperm count. Regularly taking a fenugreek seed extract supplement has been linked to increases in testosterone levels, libido, sexual performance, erectile function and frequency of sex.
11. Give Tribulus Terrestris a Try
Also known as puncturevine, this medicinal herb may improve male fertility. According to a 2012 study, taking at least six grams every day for two months improves erectile function and libido, as well as the libido components of testosterone, though not actual testosterone levels.
12. Try Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb that may increase testosterone levels. One study on men with low sperm counts who took 675 milligrams of this root extract every day for three months saw increased sperm counts by 167%, sperm motility by 57% and semen volume by 53%. When paired with exercise, it can increase testosterone levels.
13. Eat the Maca Root
Maca root is a plant food that may enhance fertility without impairing hormones. Various studies have linked it to high libido, improved sexual performance, increased erectile function, better sexual well being and increased sperm counts and motility.
Contact Western Fertility Institute Today
There is no greater joy than holding your new baby in your arms. At Western Fertility Institute, we are dedicated to helping make that dream come true for you, and we won’t stop until it does. We will walk you through every step of the process, providing treatment options and encouragement along the way.
This content was medically reviewed by the Western Fertility Institute medical team on December 2, 2019.