4 Antioxidants Men Can Take To Boost Their Fertility

Scientists have discovered a link between consuming certain antioxidants and relief in sperm dysfunction.

Male infertility is the cause of around 40-50% of infertility cases as a whole. As of late, researchers have found that men who experience sperm dysfunction are likely to be experiencing oxidative stress, caused by an excess of oxidants and a deficiency of antioxidants. These new findings have allowed men experiencing sperm dysfunction to increase their odds of reproducing with something as simple as consuming more antioxidants. 

In this article we’re going to discuss:

  • Everything We Know About Oxidative Stress
  • How To Combat It
  • Carnitines
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Carotenoids
  • Are Antioxidants The End-All-Be-All?
A photo of test tubes in a sperm testing facility.
Oxidative stress can be caused by a number of controllable as well as uncontrollable external circumstances. What’s important is trying to do what you can to reduce stress using various lifestyle or diet changes that you do have control over.

Everything We Know About Oxidative Stress

What this research has brought to light 

When oxidants, also known as reactive oxygen species or ROS, are in a surplus such as they are in oxidative stress, it tampers with the condition of the sperm. No sperm sample is free of ROS, but sperm performs best when the amount of ROS present is small. An imbalance in its normal amount is enough to cause issues with sperm performance. Scientists have found a direct negative correlation in the relationship between excess ROS and sperm performance. As ROS concentrations increase, the sperm’s motility and performance begin to plummet.   

How To Combat It

Steps to take to relieve oxidative stress

There have been a significant amount of links between sperm dysfunction and conditions such as inflammation or obesity when it comes to oxidative stress. But these conditions don’t necessarily account for most people. For healthy participants in the fertility study, doctors saw an improvement in sperm count, quality, and performance after putting their patients on antioxidant regimens. While there are many things you could do to help male infertility, one of the most simple and effective things to make a change to is your diet, vitamin, and supplement consumption. That being said there are a number of specific antioxidant-rich supplements, and compounds that would be beneficial to add to your routine if you wish to improve male fertility.


A natural compound that helps protect sperm cells

Carnitines is a compound found in a wide variety of foods that many consume normally. What’s important is making sure that you consume enough of it to maintain the effects that it has on your sperm output. Carnitine plays a critical role in energy production, thus directly affecting concentrations of ROS. You can find concentrations of carnitine in meats such as beef, chicken, or codfish, or in products such as milk, or cheddar cheese. Taking carnitine supplements is also a viable option. In a study done on 100 infertile men, they supplied the patients with 2 grams of carnitine supplements per day for two months and saw that their sperm was more concentrated and that their overall motility had increased.

Vitamin E

E for effort!

Vitamin E is also an excellent source of antioxidants. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin that can be found in a number of different foods. Some foods that have Vitamin E in them include almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, vegetable oils, sunflower seeds, spinach, and broccoli. You can also take Vitamin E as a supplement. The recommended dietary amount of Vitamin E for people older than the age of 14 is 15 milligrams. Properties of Vitamin E increase sperm motility by reducing lipid peroxidation in the fluid that carries the sperm. 

A bundle of healthy fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants.
While it may be important to do what you can to improve your sperm, if you’re going to add vitamins or supplements to your regimen, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor. If you’d like to try these antioxidants without committing to taking supplements, there are plenty of options and ways that you can increase these compounds in your current diet. Don’t give up hope!

Vitamin C

It could help you increase your sperm count by a mile

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that particularly helps to metabolize folic acids as well as tryptophan and tyrosine. To increase your intake of Vitamin C there are a number of various foods you can include in your diet. Some fruits and vegetables that are particularly rich in Vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, brussels sprouts, kale, kiwis, broccoli, acerola cherries, guavas, chili peppers, and many others. Vitamin C is also available in a supplement form and can be very beneficial to improving your sperm count. In a scientific study done on 30 infertile men, they consumed a daily supplementation of 100 and 200 milligrams of Vitamin C and saw their sperm count increase by over 100%. 


A natural antioxidant you can find in your local produce section

Carotenoids are the pigments in plants that allow them to express bright colors such as reds, yellows, and oranges. Carotenoids are especially helpful in increasing fertility because they contain a compound called lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene is particularly concentrated and stored in the human testes. The supplementation of carotenoids has shown an increase in sperm motility. If you’d like to introduce more Carotenoid into your diet, some foods you could try include:

  • Carrots
  • Yams
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Watermelon 
  • Cantelope
  • Mangos
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell Peppers

You can also use carotenoids as a supplement and add them to your vitamin regimen. 

Are Antioxidants The End-All-Be-All?

Not necessarily… 

Increasing the presence of these antioxidants in your life aren’t necessarily a sure-fire way to solve male fertility. While these specific antioxidants help with problems caused by oxidative stress, it’s important to note that oxidative stress isn’t the only factor that could cause or be contributing to sperm dysfunction or low sperm count. Working with your doctor to decide whether or not using these supplements is right for you can go a long way, and ensure that you do good by yourself in the process of trying to conceive.

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