Sperm production (spermatogenesis) in men is a complex and sensitive process. Especially to environmental factors such as trauma (temperature, physical) as well as nutritional deficiencies (a poor diet).
Several long term studies have shown that several quality factors of human sperm (in particular quantity, motility, appearance) have dropped by more than half in recent decades.
On the other hand, more than 100 clinical studies have shown that semen volume, sperm count, and sperm shape (morphology) as well as their ability to swim (motility) can be effectively improved by consuming antioxidants (for example, from plant extracts), amino acids, vitamins and trace elements.
Fertility scientists therefore tend to recommend food supplements in addition to a cleaner, greener, organic whole food diet with significantly more fruit and raw vegetables.
This approach will guarantee an optimal supply of the most important micronutrients to allow sperm production to run at optimum levels.
Nutrients increase male fertilitySperm Movement, up to 23%
Who should consider fertility supplements?
Therefore, fertility experts routinely recommend aspiring fathers several months of food supplements as a standard preparation for IVF and other fertility treatments. The active ingredients are highly concentrated standard nutrients also found in common foods. These fertility supplements are therefore classified as foods.
Both male and female partners should start taking them as soon as they start trying to conceive. This is due to a variety of reasons: a high level of safety (in principle no side effects), good proven efficacy, very moderate financial cost (particularly in relation to a artificial fertilisation) and because sperm generation actually takes 90 days. Due to their high safety level the supplements are suitable for continuous consumption.
We have compared 17 well-known combination products for male fertility. To compare the products at ingredient level, we have assigned none, one or two ticks based on the level of their effective dosage. Finally, only nutrients proven effective in the majority of scientific, peer-reviewed studies have been considered. The number of ticks was then added together to produce a final score.
The differences in price and quality are sometimes staggering.
Scoring: L-Arginine: 0-200mg = Cross; 201-400 mg = 1 tick; 401mg + = 2 ticks. Citrulline: 0-200mg = Cross; 201-400mg = 1 tick; 401mg + = 2 ticks. L-carnitine: 0-150mg = Cross; 151-300mg = 1 tick; 301mg + = 2 ticks. N-Acetyl-Cysteine: 0-30mg = Cross; 31-60mg = 1 tick; 61mg + = 2 ticks. Glutathione: 0-30mg = Cross; 31-60mg = 1 tick; 61mg + = 2 ticks. Pine bark extract: 0-20mg = Cross; 21-50mg = 1 tick; 51mg + = 2 ticks. Zinc: 0-6mg = Cross; 7-12mg = 1 tick; 12mg + = 2 ticks. Selenium: 0-30μg = Cross; 31-50μg = 1 tick; 51μg + = 2 ticks. Omega-3: 0-50mg = Cross; 51-300mg = 1 tick; 300mg + = 2 ticks. Vitamin A / β-carotene: 0-300μg = Cross; 301-1000μg = 1 tick; 1001μg + = 2 ticks. Vitamin C: 0-80mg = Cross; 81-150mg = 1 tick; 151mg + = 2 ticks. Vitamin D: 0-4μg = Cross; 5-9μg = 1 tick; 10 ug + = 2 ticks. Vitamin E: 0-12mg = Cross; 13-80mg = 1 tick; 81mg + = 2 ticks. Folic Acid / Vitamin B9: 0-100μg = Cross; 101-500μg = 1 tick; 501μg + = 2 ticks. Coenzyme Q10: 0-5μg = Cross; 6-10μg = 1 tick; 11μg + = 2 ticks.
These products contain a lot of good fertility nutrients, but in lower concentrations than the Top 5 products. FERTIL PRO® FOR MEN + L-Carnitine only has two fertility nutrients vitamin C and folic acid in significant concentration.
Wellman Conception contains remarkably low amounts of the key fertility amino acids arginine, carnitine and cysteine. The body requires the latter in particular to produce the powerful antioxidant and DNA protector glutathione.
Proxeed has a large amount of carnitine, but it lacks the vitamins C, D and E completely. This is surprising, because these vitamins have been shown particularly effective in helping to increase overall sperm quality.
These three products are ranked last in our test as they contain only very low fertility nutrients. FERTIL PRO® MTL focuses exclusively on three antioxidants and contains neither arginine, carnitine nor the trace elements zinc and selenium.
The sperm production cycle takes approximately 80 days, which is why the supplements should be taken for at least three months. Ideally, until the partner is past the critical 12 week pregnancy mark. In addition, aspiring fathers must pay particular attention to their diet and lifestyle (more tips here).
Indeed, the best products offer the widest wide range of proven effective ingredients. In terms of cost one should budget between £20 (25€) and £30 (40€) per month.
Relative to their importance and the physical, emotional and monetary cost of the alternatives, however, that is a minor investment.