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The Male Fertility Diet

The Male Fertility Diet

Wondering about a Fertility Diet for men? What a man eats during the preconception stage is just as important as what the woman is eating, especially if you are experiencing fertility issues. There are specific nutrients men need and here are some of the important reasons for men to eat a healthy Fertility Diet are:

Protecting and encourage healthy DNA – DNA is be passed on and will be responsible for creating half of your child, the other half being provided by the woman. Certain chemicals and nutritional deficiencies can damage DNA – moking, pesticides, alcohol and chemicals. Eating healthy foods that contain DNA-protecting antioxidants and nutrients can help to reverse the damage. It is estimated that 80% of the sperm produced by a healthy male is DNA-damaged.

Queen’s University, Belfast, Professor Sheena Lewis (internationally-acclaimed academic in male fertility) and colleagues have revealed through their research of 203 couples undergoing IVF and 136 couples undergoing ICSI that in 80% of couples with unexplained infertility there is high sperm DNA damage. (Reproductive Biomedicine Online).

Promote sperm health – eating a nutrient-dense diet can help to not only prevent damage to your sperm, but can also help to promote sperm health. Nutrients such as zinc, selenium and vitamin C (plus many others) have been shown to help increase sperm health, motility and mobility. Just over the last 50 years, male sperm counts have declined rapidly – originally a common/healthy number was 500 million. Now most doctors still hope to see 20 million sperm/mL in a semen sample, but in 2010 the World Health Organization (WHO) revised lower reference limits for human semen characteristics, determining that sperm concentrations in healthy men at 15 million spermatozoa/mL are adequate. (Journal of human reproductive sciences)

Health during conception = healthy pregnancy = healthy baby – Your future child will be created from you and your partner’s DNA. Preparing for conception helps to set you up for a healthy pregnancy and baby. Switching your eating habits at least 3 months before conception can help you create healthy sperm (sperm is produced in a 3-month cycle; what you eat today creates the sperm you will be using 3 months from now) as well as supports the eating habits of your pregnant partner.

Encourage and support healthy libido – a poor diet rich in fats and low in nutrients and hydration can cause low libido and hormonal issues for men. This can make it hard for couples to conceive and also cause sperm to be of less than optimal health.

Important Nutrients for Male Fertility Health

We have gone over many of the reasons to eat a healthy male fertility diet; now we will cover how to eat in a way that promotes male fertility.

As with women, we generally recommend beginning with a Fertility Cleanse to help support the body in eliminating toxins from past years of an unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices. Click here to learn about Male Specific Fertility cleansing.

The male fertility diet does not differ much from a woman’s fertility diet, but some specific nutrients need to be focused on in addition to eating a whole food Fertility Diet (read on and then come back to click to learn more). Here are some of the most important nutrients needed for sperm health and the foods that are rich in those nutrients. Foods are listed from highest content of the specific nutrient on to the next highest and so on. All foods listed are the foods that are extremely rich in the mentioned nutrient.

sesame_seedsHaving a zinc deficiency can actually reduce testosterone levels. Supplementation with zinc has been found to increase testosterone, sperm count and motility. One double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial published in Fertility and Sterility finds men who take folic acid and zinc together experience a stunning 74% increase in total sperm count! Zinc deficiencies are some of the most common deficiencies found in both men and women. The reason for this is that zinc can be damaged when foods are cooked or processed. So it is important to eat a diet that is at least 50% raw foods (this is easy to do; take a look at the daily diet suggestions later in this article).

Foods rich in zinc are: meats like beef tenderloin, lamb, oysters, shrimp, and venison (deer), but since we do not want to eat meat raw, some sources of easy to get/eat sources of zinc are sesame seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, and green peas.

Folic acid
New research suggests that folic acid (in the B vitamin family) can boost sperm health. Men with low levels of folate had increased risks for sperm that contained too little or too many chromosomes. If an egg is fertilized with one of these abnormal sperm, it could result in a birth defect such as Down syndrome, or an increase in miscarriage.

Folic acid is found in: lentils, beans (1 cup provides almost your entire daily needs), pinto beans, garbanzo beans, asparagus, spinach, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, and collard greens. One serving a day of any of these foods provides anywhere from 50-90% of your daily needs.

Vitamin B12 has been shown to increase sperm counts. In a 2017 metanalysis out of Jordan University of Science and Technology, articles and abstracts from September 1961 to March 2017 showed that “Since 2000, a number of studies proposed vitamin B12 as a candidate therapy to recover or enhance semen quality. Sinclair [29] proposed vitamin B12 as a nutritional therapy that improved semen quality, mainly sperm count and motility. In 2006, vitamin B12 was suggested as one of the candidate drugs to manage male infertility due to its positive effects on sperm parameters, particularly sperm count [30]. In 2013, an oral antioxidant treatment including vitamin B12 was found to improve sperm vitality, motility, and DNA integrity [31].”

Many people are deficient in B12– meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Healthy levels of B12 depend on healthy digestion, which most people lack due to eating a highly processed diet.

Some foods rich in B12 are: dairy and animal products, but we know that B12 is an important nutrient that needs to be supplemented to make sure you are getting enough, regardless of the state of your digestive system.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C protects sperm from oxidative damage. It will help to increase the quality of sperm in smokers and reduces sperm agglutination (when they clump together). Vitamin C is another nutrient that is sensitive to cooking and processing so it important to get it from eating foods raw. Drinking store-bought orange juice will not help to increase your vitamin C levels as it has been pasteurized at high-heat levels and has lost all of its DNA protecting abilities; orange juice should be consumed fresh-squeezed only.

Some foods that are rich in vitamin C (and should be eaten raw) are: papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, oranges, kiwifruit, cauliflower, and kale.

This amino acid is a necessary nutrient for sperm cells to function normally. Research published in Fertility and Sterility and the International Journal of Andrology shows that supplementing with L-Carnitine helps to normalize sperm motility in men with low sperm quality and can help increase sperm count. Carnitine and CoQ10 have been shown to work synergistically when combined.

Foods rich in L-Carnitine are: nuts, seeds, and many vegetables, including artichokes, asparagus, beet greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, garlic, mustard greens, okra, and parsley.

Acts as an antioxidant protecting the sperm cells from damage. Ubiquinone has been found in seminal fluid where it is believed to play an important metabolic and antioxidant function protecting sperm health (Journal of Endocrinological Investigation). CoQ10 has also been shown to increase sperm motility. It has been shown that our CoQ10 levels decrease as we age.

Foods rich in CoQ10 are: beef, marinated herring, rainbow trout, salmon, organ meats, peanuts, pistachios, sesame seeds, raw broccoli, strawberries and oranges, and eggs, plus whole grains that still contain the germ.

Male Fertility Diet Tips

Here are some fertility diet tips to incorporate into your current diet which will help you get all the nutrients needed for healthy male fertility…

  • Eat only organic – Pesticides have been shown to be one of the main reasons for the declining fertility in men. They mimic estrogen in the body which can cause testosterone to decrease. Healthy testosterone levels are necessary for sperm production.
  • Avoid soy foods – Soy foods are another estrogen-mimicking food that should be avoided.
  • Eat one fertility smoothie a day – By including one fertility smoothie every day, you are able to get an abundant supply of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in an easy to eat and digest form.
  • Eat at least one large green salad per day – Eating a large salad that contains many different varieties of vegetables will help to supply your body with the nutrients it needs for optimal health and DNA protection. Make sure to add some raw sesame and pumpkin seeds on top for added zinc.
  • Eat one dark leafy green vegetable a day – Dark leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, swiss chard, collards and spinach are packed with nutrition.
  • Enjoy nuts and seeds daily – You can use nuts and seeds in your smoothies, as a trail mix, on top of salads, and make nut milks.
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Drink fresh pressed vegetable and fruit juices – one of the easiest ways to get your daily supply of whole-food nutrients into your body is through fresh juices.
  • Avoid dairy products or at least keep it to a minimum – Conventional dairy contains hormones (mostly estrogen) which, as stated above can have a negative impact on testosterone levels. You can replace milk with nutrient and protein-rich nut milks.

By incorporating these tips into your daily diet, you will begin to have more energy and will create a stronger immune system, as well as promote healthy fertility. For some ideas on what to eat, recipes, and smoothie ideas, check out the 21-Day Fertility Diet Challenge.


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  1. Avatar

    There are so many mistruths about infertility that it’s quite possible you could believe that there is no solution for you. Today, you have found the source of knowledge that will give you the power to take control of your situation.

  2. Avatar

    Dear Sir
    ultra scaning report
    1 Bilateral Mild varicocele noted more than right side measuring 33mm
    2 Normal Size and echogenicity of both testicies
    3 Left epididymal cyst measure about 7&5&5 mm
    4 Normal echo Pattern of right epididymis
    5 Small left hydrocele is seen
    Pls give reply
    Thanks &regards

  3. Avatar

    Can you update your source? And wouldn’t you need one source for all of this info? I doubt one single study was able to prove all of these separate factors independently increase sperm counts.

    • Dear Chris,

      This guide’s author holds a degree in holistic nutrition and much of this comes from her training and personal knowledge (which often isn’t cited as a reference). With that however, The Male Fertility Diet is largely based on The Fertility Diet (for everyone) which offers an extensive list of references. That one study was cited on this guide, does not mean that there is only one.

  4. Avatar

    hi Hethir,
    very nice and informative post.
    it would be really nice if someone like you with some really good writing skills write a post on life style changes needed to boost fertility in male. this is just a suggestion.
    keep up the good work.

    Dhruv K. Mangukia

  5. Avatar

    3 months after my wife and I got married she ended up in the ER with what we found out was an e-topic pregnancy. She ended up losing a tube and since then pregnancy has been difficult. We have just celebrated 5 years of marriage about a month ago and still no children. She’s had 5 miscarriages including the e-topic. We sought fertility docs out and found that her one tube ok. I was told that all my “boys” are fine as far as count, and all the other “specs” they look for. But one. It seems that they aren’t the right “shape” and that is more than likely the issue. Will foods help this? Also, are the fertility shakes for men also? Thanks

    • Dear David,

      I am sorry for all that you both have been through!

      It is great that you are considering the Male Fertility Diet and Fertility Smoothies. They are for men and women both (your wife may enjoy them with you). Sperm morphology is the technical term for their shape. Normal sperm have an oval head with a long tail that whips to propel it forward (motility) and abnormal sperm morphology means they may have head or tail defects like a large or misshapen head, or a crooked tail or tail that does not whip, etc. Our guide Male Fertility: Encouraging Healthy Sperm Morphology will explain this more and share tips for naturally supporting healthy sperm production.

      I hope this is helpful!

  6. Avatar

    is soya good for men? i do drink it alot but somebody told me to stop i might loose my fertility , is it true?

    • Dear Daniel,

      We know if battling infertility, a fertility health issue, or hormonal imbalance, it would be best to limit consuming soy. Soy may be linked to low sperm counts… learn more from our article Soy and Declining Sperm Counts. Soy foods are often highly processed and genetically modified. So, if you choose to consume soy, limit it to only a few times a week, consume fermented soy (tempeh, miso), or whole, organic and non-GMO edamame.

  7. Avatar

    Hive me detail about daily diet to improve my fertility I have low sperm count. Hope to read from you soon.

  8. Avatar

    agar kisi ko low sperm ya sath red/white blood cells ore pus any ka masla ho to report whattsapp karian ya rabta karain sirf mobile per 03327274299 whatssapp per mery sabqa mareezon ki reports daikh sakty hain wo larkian ore ortain jin ki fallopaian tubes main cyst hain wo b rabta ker sakti hain

    • Dear Zarar,

      I am sorry I am not able to translate your message. We also do not use Whattsapp. If you could translate your comment to English, I may be able to be of better support.

  9. Avatar

    hie i have been married for three years and im failing to have a child due to low sperm count, how best can you assist me?

    Your favourable response will be greatly appreciated


  10. Avatar

    I love sharing this article (and the website), as a reference, to my clients!

  11. Avatar

    Hi, I came across your website and I found the information quite interesting. I just wanted to clarify some doubts before I actually start trying the fertility smoothie challenge. I know It has been up since last year but I came across only just now. Me and my husband are on fertility treatment as my husband has low sperm count and motility and I have very very mild form of PCOS. During the treatment, I always get high progesterone which means we always collect the eggs but get them transferred in the next cycle. My question is can I still use Maca in the smoothie. All other benefits interest me a lot in this superfood but just need some clarification with the progesterone part.
    Many Thanks

    • Dear Bhumika,

      Fertility Smoothies are intended to boost nutrient levels for men and women. They can be used by women with PCOS, given they contain protein and low glycemic index fruits should insulin resistance be be and issue, and men to support sperm health.

      It would however be best to speak with your health care provider about taking Maca is also on a fertility medication. Herbs that act on the hormonal system, which Maca in part does, could affect how your medications are working.

      Following a Fertility Diet however is great!

  12. Avatar

    Hi! I’m a new member of this website. I have been married for 5 years and have not become pregnant. I’m overweight and I try to reduce weight which is not possible. My age is 34 and I weigh 110 kgs. I also have low sperm count and low motility, please advice how to increase the fertility.

    • Dear Packe,

      Being overweight or obese as a male lowers testosterone levels, which impacts how the testes function. By impacting how the testes function, all hormones produced by them can be out of balance. This may lead to lower production of mature sperm, production of abnormal sperm (increasing the risk of miscarriage and chromosomal defects in a developing embryo should fertilization occur) which over time all may lead to male infertility. Research also shows elevated levels of estrogen in obese men and sexual dysfunction.

      I know losing weight can be hard, but if given your height and weight you are moving toward a BMI that qualifies you as obese, it may be time to seek advice and support on how to best lose weight and support your body in keeping it off. Diet and lifestyle changes are critical. The following articles offer tips to consider – Weight Loss to Boost Fertility – 5 Tips on How to Curb Unhealthy Cravings and Fertility Tip – 10 Steps to Sustained Weight Loss & Achieving a Healthy Weight.

      The Male Fertility Diet is a diet to consider following as well in support of healthy male fertility.

      I hope this is a helpful place to start!

  13. Avatar

    I am a 38 year old married man. My wife and I have been trying for over 10 years to conceive. She rarely gets pregnant, and when she does she has a miscarriage before the third month. Though I don’t drink heavily, I smoke alot. I know I need to quit. Thanks for the tips, and I am going to make some serious changes.

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Hello Adrian!

      I am very sorry for your losses, but I am glad the tips are helpful and good for you for being determined to make changes to benefit your overall and fertility health.

      Consider also sharing with your wife the following article as she works to understand how she might also naturally support her fertility health… 5 Steps To Decreasing the Chance of Recurrent Miscarriages.

      Best wishes to you both!

  14. Avatar

    Simple diet for increasing male fertility and simple diet to regularize the menstruation of a female.

  15. Update 2014 – We are back! We have been away for a while and we sure have missed all of your wonderful questions and thoughts on our articles. Moving forward, one of our staff herbalists will be here to respond to comments! We look forward to connecting with our readers once again!

    • Avatar

      Do you do the male fertility cleanse and male factor formula together or do you complete the cleanse first then do the male factor?

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Hello Hannah!

      It is best to complete the Male Fertility Cleanse before starting the Male Factor Formula kit.

  16. Avatar

    best for all married males i liked it . thank you

  17. Avatar

    hello im a new member i read diet for men wel im from south america guyana an the men here usually use sea moss an other barks such as capadula, coction etc to build their sperm count are these things helpfiul.