Can Men Take Prenatal Vitamins?
Yes, men can take prenatal vitamins, but the better option for future-dads is to take a male fertility supplement. For men who are preparing, just starting to try to conceive, or experiencing fertility challenges, male fertility supplements help promote vibrant health to support your fertility goals.
What Are Male Fertility Supplements?
Male fertility supplements are usually a combination of vitamins and herbs. The best male fertility supplements are specially formulated to give men a complete blend of herbs, antioxidants, and a methylated multivitamin to support your fertility journey.
Dads-to-be can use fertility vitamins and supplements to support healthy sperm count, motility, and morphology, support testosterone levels, and help improve overall health. (1)
Ideally, you start taking fertility supplements three months before you plan to conceive. While you produce semen daily, it takes about 64 days to fully regenerate sperm. During this regeneration period, it’s important your sperm develop in a healthy nutrient-dense environment. (2, 3)
Your diet quality and lifestyle factors affect your sperm count, sperm motility, sperm DNA integrity, and sperm morphology. Male fertility supplements help fill any nutritional gaps, providing you with the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients you need to support healthy sperm development. (1)
Essential Male Fertility Supplement Ingredients
It’s important your male fertility supplement contains these essential ingredients:
Folate is a B vitamin necessary for DNA synthesis, brain health, energy production, and more. Recent research shows supplementation with zinc and folate may have a positive impact on semen quality and may improve natural fertility and success rates with fertility treatment. (4) Make sure your fertility supplement contains methylfolate, the active form of folate found naturally in your body.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids may support a higher sperm count and improved sperm motility and morphology. Studies indicate that EPA and DHA supplementation with fatty acids significantly increases sperm motility and DHA concentration in semen. It can be challenging to get enough omega-3s from diet alone, especially for vegans, in which case supplementation may help make up this gap. (5)
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C supplementation may improve sperm motility, sperm count, and sperm morphology. This essential antioxidant contributes to healthy sperm by protecting the sperm’s DNA from free radical damage. Vitamin C is found in abundant quantities in the semen of fertile men. Research indicates vitamin C supplementation may improve semen quality and chances for conception. (6)
4. Vitamin E
Research shows that vitamin E may improve sperm motility and men who took vitamin E supplements for three months demonstrated a large improvement in fertilization and increased pregnancy rates. As essential antioxidants, vitamins E and C may work together to improve sperm function since vitamin C functions to regenerate vitamin E. This fat-soluble vitamin may also protect the sperm’s cell membrane from damage. (7)
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays many important roles including regulating the immune system, improving muscular function, and boosting mood. Vitamin D is also essential for male androgen (testosterone) status and male reproduction. In a recent study, men with normal vitamin D levels had better sperm motility than vitamin D deficient men. (8, 9)
Selenium is a trace mineral that functions as an antioxidant, protecting tissues and DNA from oxidative damage. Studies show that selenium supplements may increase sperm motility and when combined with vitamin E, decrease free radical damage. (10, 11)
L-Carnitine is an amino acid derivative with important roles in supporting sperm health, including initiating sperm motility, promoting sperm maturation, enhancing sperm fertilizing, and protecting sperm from oxidative damage. (12)
8. Maca Root
The maca plant has been recognized for its potential health benefits for over 2,000 years. The maca root of this ancient plant contains amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Maca root is believed to support male fertility and libido. Studies are ongoing to determine its impact on sperm motility and sperm count. (13, 14)
Zinc is an essential trace mineral with a role in sperm formation, count, and motility and testosterone levels and metabolism. Research findings indicate zinc is essential for male fertility with potential for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of male infertility. (15)
10. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant used to support cell growth and maintenance. Coenzyme Q10 is widely researched for its potential role in improving sperm count, motility, and morphology. (16)
How Lifestyle Affects Male Fertility
Researchers and doctors agree that lifestyle habits play a large role in male fertility and sperm health. (17)
When you’re trying to conceive, keep in mind these lifestyle habits:
- Limit your alcohol intake
Heavy drinking may reduce testosterone production, lower sperm production, and cause impotence. (17)
- Don’t smoke
Smoking cigarettes lowers sperm counts and motility and the chemicals in cigarettes may damage the genetic material of sperm. (18)
- Eat a nutrient-dense diet
Focus on a healthy balanced diet featuring plenty of vegetables and fruit. These foods contain folate and antioxidants, which can help support beneficial sperm health. Additionally, avoid soy products, because research shows the more soy men eat, the lower his sperm count. (17, 19)
- Move your body
Regular physical activity helps with stress management, maintaining a healthy body weight, and increasing antioxidant enzyme levels. Stress may impair your sexual function and impact the hormones required to produce sperm. A high body mass index (BMI) may be linked to a low sperm count and decreased sperm movement. (17)
- Limit toxin exposure
Do your best to avoid exposure to toxins, including lead and pesticides. Toxins can affect sperm quality and quantity. Always wear safety equipment when handling chemicals. (17)
- Do not overheat
High scrotal temperature may impact your sperm production. Try to wear loose-fitting underwear, avoid holding your laptop on your lap, and do not use saunas or hot tubs. (17)
This is an exciting time for you and your mama-to-be. Remember, every pregnancy journey is unique.
Focus on the things you can control, including eating a healthy diet, managing your stress, getting daily exercise – and taking a daily male fertility supplement to help support your pregnancy goals.