Nutrition Sperm quality

Diet and sperm quality

Healthy nutrition matters

A Spanish study published in the renowned journal „ Human Reproduction“ confirmed once more that healthy nutrition does matter when it comes to a man’s sperm count. This has already been known to be true for men with known fertility issues, for older men and for smokers.

Diet affects sperm counts

Now the team of Alberto Torres-Cantero wanted to know whether the same applies to healthy young men, too.
The scientists examined semen of 215 male university students and linked the data to the study participants’ eating habits. They focused in particular on a number of micronutrients with known impact on sperm quantity and quality.


Probably it did not come entirely surprisingly that the researchers found a significant association between the dietary intake of antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C or lycopene and the total sperm count. It is well known that spermatozoa are particularly vulnerable when it comes to oxidative stress in the reproductive tract and antioxidants can protect sperms from oxidative damage.

Micronutrients for healthy sperms

Other micronutrients important for sperm health include the minerals zinc and selenium. They are required for effective function of an array of enzymes in sperms.  Motility in particular requires an appropriate supply with carnitine and coenzyme Q10. Both are involved in energy production in the sperms’ cellular power plants, the mitochondria.

This is yet another example of a study providing scientific evidence that every man – just like every woman – who wishes to conceive should make healthy choices well before pregnancy. Particularly a healthy and varied diet with ample antioxidants is important. For people finding it hard to stick to healthy eating habits or people experiencing a lot of stress it might be advisable upon consultation with their doctor to contemplate temporarily using a suitable supplement. 3 months are usually sufficient to boost sperm quality markedly.


Minguez-Alarcón L, Mendiola J, López-Espín J, Sarabia-Cos L, Vivero-Salmerón G, Vioque J, Navarrete-Munoz EM, Torres-Cantero AM. Dietary intake of antioxidant nutrients is associated with semen quality in young university students. Human Reproduction 2012; 27(9): 2807-2814

About the author

Dr. rer. nat. Birgit Wogatzky

For many years now, biologist and nutritionist Dr Birgit Wogatzky, has been focusing on the special needs of fertility patients. For the readers of this blog, she sums up interesting novel information and developments from current research projects regarding lifestyle and nutrition of fertility patients.

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