Research highlights how important it is for men to follow a preconception care plan. It takes 74 days to make a new batch of sperm cells from scratch and during this time they are vulnerable to toxicity and nutrient deficiencies.
Infertility due to a male factor is 40%. Studies have shown that damage to sperm DNA may increase the risk of miscarriage or even cause infertility. Therefore, following a preconception care plan for 3-4 months may improve a couple’s chance of a successful conception and pregnancy.
A severe deficiency of vitamins A, D and E and zinc has been shown to decrease male fertility.
Other nutrients have been the focus of clinical trials:
This study showed 200mg of vitamin E taken daily for at least 3 months improved IVF fertilisation rates.
One study showed that 200mg taken daily for more than 3 weeks was equivalent to taking 1000mg of vitamin C in terms of improvement in sperm parameters. After 2 months, several men in both treatment groups impregnated their wives compared to none in the placebo group.
If you thought folate was only important for women prior to conception think again. Higher folate intake is associated with a lower incidence of sperm aneuploidy (chromosome damage in the sperm).
Vitamin B12 has been studied numerous times at doses between 1000mcg to 6000mcg daily. This study of men with a sperm count of less than 20 million/ml showed an increase to over 100 million/ml after taking 1000mcg of vitamin B12 daily for 3 months.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid is a water and fat-soluble antioxidant that recycles vitamins C, E, CoQ10 and glutathione. All of these nutrients are required for healthy sperm parameters. This study demonstrated significantly increased sperm count and motility after taking 600mg of alpha-lipoic acid daily.
Iodine, Zinc, Selenium
It’s a good idea to check thyroid function when speaking to your health professional about preconception health. Hypothyroidism can adversely affect all sperm parameters – sperm count, motility and morphology and affects erectile function. The longer a man is hypothyroid, the more damage to his testes.
Iodine, zinc and selenium are important nutrients for healthy thyroid function and are often deficient in the diet due a deficiency in our soil.
Preconception Multivitamins for Men
Taking a preconception multivitamin for men that contains all of these nutrients is a fantastic start in contributing to your part in a healthy conception.
Ref: Jones, R. E. & Lopez, K. H. (2014). Human reproductive biology (4th ed).