If a married couple is faced with the problems of conceiving a child, then approximately 30% of such cases are due to the male factor. The inability of sperm to fertilize, in most cases, is associated with a violation of their number in the ejaculate or sperm motility.
These two factors reduce the possibility of sperm fertilization of the egg. Some nutritional components are designed to improve sperm quality in men and increase the chance of conception when planning pregnancy.
Vitamin B 12
The use of vitamin B 12 (cobalamin) contributed to the improvement of spermogram indices, both in the case of low sperm counts and in case of impaired mobility. Being a water-soluble vitamin, cobalamin is still able to accumulate in the liver, kidneys, lungs and spleen. However, unlike fat-soluble vitamins, the deposition of vitamin B 12 is not so significant, and can not have a toxic effect even when inadequate daily dosages are used. An excess of cobalamin without any changes is excreted in the urine.
Dosage. The daily requirement of vitamin B 12 for men is 2-3 micrograms. However, in order to increase the chance of conception, you can significantly increase the daily dosage. Future fathers should take into account that their partners during pregnancy, as well as breastfeeding, need a larger dose of this vitamin – 2.4-4 micrograms per day.
Food sources. Being a rather “powerful” vitamin, its daily norm is measured in micrograms, so it is not difficult to replenish the supply of cobalamin with food. Moreover, the vitamin is stable to light and heat, and only slightly destroyed by cooking. But, it is worth considering that vitamin B 12 is found only in animal food, with its highest content in animal meat (liver, kidneys and heart), seafood, and egg yolk. Therefore, people who adhere to a strict vegan diet (lack of animal food in the diet) may eventually have a deficiency of this vitamin, and need additional nutritional supplements to replenish it.
Vitamin deficiency is most often associated not with insufficient intake, but with a violation of its absorption in the gastrointestinal tract as a result of various intestinal pathologies, malabsorption syndrome, and other causes. The only possible way to solve the vitamin deficiency, in addition to treating the underlying disease, is to inject the vitamin B 12 , because in this case, it will bypass absorption in the intestine, as happens when taken orally.
Vitamin C, due to its antioxidant effect, protects sperm from damage in an unfavorable (acidic) environment of the female genital organs. Ascorbic acid improves the basic characteristics of sperm: increase the number and motility of sperm. A study dated 1987 showed the positive effects of taking vitamin C in healthy men with infertility. At the end of the three-month course of taking ascorbic acid, all men were capable of fertilization. For men who did not take vitamin C but were also participating in the study, there was no change in fertility.
In addition to antioxidant action, ascorbic acid has detoxifying properties. This is especially true for men who have a habit of smoking or are exposed to industrial chemicals. By the way, a man should give up smoking if he wants to increase his chances of conceiving a child.
Dosage. Take 500 mg of vitamin C for 3 months to analyze changes in seed quality. This is a large dose compared to the recommended daily dosage of 70-100 mg. But since ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin and is not able to accumulate, the excess easily leaves the body with urine. But the given dose more than covers recommendations for increasing the intake of vitamin C during illness, stress and exposure to toxic effects.
Food sources. The most valuable food sources are sweet peppers, citrus fruits, kiwi, currants, herbs. Such products should be consumed only in fresh form, since ascorbic acid is easily destroyed by temperature.
One of the symptoms of selenium deficiency in men is sterility. It is believed that selenium has a pronounced protective effect on sperm and improves their motility. Selenium is contained in the body, including in the testes and seminiferous tubules.
Selenium has a number of positive aspects for men’s health. For example, the correlation between selenium deficiency and the onset of cancer is absolutely proved, especially to which men are exposed (cancer of the colon and rectum, prostate, lungs).
In addition to improving the function of the gonads, selenium protects against weakening of the heart muscle, preventing such killer diseases as heart attack, stroke, cardiomyopathy, etc. By providing a preventive effect not only on individual diseases, selenium contributes to good health by stimulating the body’s immune system.
Dosage. The daily need for selenium for men is 70-100 mcg. When using supplements, try to use a dietary supplement of selenium in the form of L-selenomethionine at a dosage of 100-200 mcg per day. At the same dosage, sodium selenate and selenium aspartate are suitable.
Food sources. It is not difficult to replenish the supply of organic selenium in the body thanks to the Brazil nut – the champion in the content of selenium. Only 2-3 nuts per day make up for the daily need for this trace element. Other main sources of selenium remain seafood, animal meat (kidneys, liver), eggs. The content of selenium in cereals and seeds can be significant, but completely depends on how rich the soil is with this trace element. Since in most countries of the world soil depletion of selenium is observed, this situation leads to its deficit even with a balanced diet. Fruits and vegetables are low in selenium.
Zinc is a unique trace element for men’s health. He can safely be given primacy with regards to significance in the normal work of a man’s sexual function. Zinc affects the quantitative and qualitative indicator of sperm, and is also responsible for the synthesis of the main male hormone – testosterone. Symptoms of zinc deficiency in men are a decrease in potency (up to impotence), infertility.
Zinc has an immunomodulatory effect, fights infectious diseases and cancer, and is necessary for the rapid healing of wounds. Zinc is especially needed during puberty, as it is responsible for triggering the growth and development of the body.
Dosage. The daily requirement for zinc for men is 15 mg. The need for an increased dosage arises with regular abuse of alcohol, an unbalanced diet, and the treatment of sexual and reproductive diseases. In this case, a dose of 20 mg per day will be sufficient.
Food sources. Sources of zinc are seafood (oysters, crabs, fatty varieties of fish), germinated wheat grains, meat and animal entrails, oatmeal, nuts, etc.
L-arginine is an amino acid that is one of the structural units of a protein. Arginine is directly involved in the formation and formation of seminal fluid, up to 80% of its dry matter. As the research data showed, a deficiency of this amino acid was observed in patients with a violation of the main factors of sperm quality – the number and motility of sperm. The inclusion of the required amount of arginine in the diet helps to restore these two indicators to normal levels.
Arginine supplements are used for sports purposes to improve muscle nutrition and reduce subcutaneous fat. However, the effectiveness of the use of this supplement for sports purposes has been refuted by numerous studies.
Dosage. Take 4 g of arginine daily for 3 months to compare results.
Food sources. L-arginine is a conditionally irreplaceable amino acid, since it is capable of being synthesized in the human body independently and in ideal conditions does not require additional application. However, this applies only to a healthy body. Most often, self-synthesis is not enough to fully provide the body with the necessary dose of arginine.
The amino acid arginine is widely represented in foods: it is found in nuts (walnut, cedar), pumpkin seeds, chicken, pork, egg, peas, etc.
Table 1 – Essential vitamins for men for conception, their dosage and sources.
|SUBSTANCE||DOSAGE (per day)||FOOD SOURCES|
|Vitamin B 12||2 – 3 mcg||Meat (liver, kidney, heart), seafood, egg yolk|
|Vitamin C||500 mg||Sweet peppers, citrus fruits, kiwi, currants|
|Selenium||100 – 200 mcg||Brazil nut, seafood, meat (liver, kidneys), eggs|
|Zinc||20 mg||Seafood, wheat germ, beef, pumpkin seeds|
|L-arginine||4 g||Nuts, pumpkin seeds, chicken, pork, eggs|