Did you know that semen contains trace amounts of every single nutrient the human body uses? This includes higher concentrations of commonly deficient nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and selenium. While the importance of prenatal vitamins in women is widely accepted, rarely do you hear them recommended for men. The following are three (of many) reasons men should take vitamins while trying to conceive.
It Takes Two
Sperm and eggs are of equal importance in conception, both providing half of the required DNA to produce a baby. It takes sperm up to 116 days to generate (eggs take about 100 days), and ALL vitamins and minerals are required at one time or another in the development of healthy sperm. Supplementation is recommended for four months prior to conception for females AND males.
Sperm are much smaller than eggs, and therefore are more vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies and toxicity. Toxins are everywhere in our environment, from air pollution, to pesticides and medications. Men tend to be exposed to more toxic work environments. Many toxins are associated with causing DNA damage in sperm. Antioxidants are important for protecting against DNA damage, for example, Vitamin C has been linked to improved sperm parameters and a decreased risk of birth defects.
Swim Baby Swim
Sperm count, motility, morphology. All are important in the ability of the sperm to fertilize the egg. Several nutrients are involved in the production of healthy sperm. For example, zinc is required for testosterone production, testicular growth, sperm production (count), motility, semen volume and it reduces excess estrogen. Miscarriage rates are linked to the health of sperm. One study showed that an abnormal sperm counts of 14% miscarried at a rate of 14%, and a count of 43% abnormal sperm miscarried at a rate of 84%. Nutrient deficiencies associated with abnormal sperm and miscarriage include zinc, selenium, CoQ10 and lipoic acid.
Anyone experiencing fertility problems should consider being tested for nutritional deficiencies. Analysis of blood, urine, saliva and hair are all great tools to measure vitamin and mineral status as well as exposure to toxic elements. Simply correcting nutrient deficiencies can make vast improvements in sperm health.