The average healthy, fertile couple has only a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant during any given month, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Couples can become discouraged when pregnancy doesn't occur after several months of trying. Men and women can both have issues that contribute to infertility. If you're concerned you have sperm issues, certain vitamins—including coenzyme Q10, vitamin C and zinc—have been shown to improve sperm production.
Your body naturally produces Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10. As men age, however, their ability to produce CoQ10 decreases. A study published in 2009 in the "Journal of Urology" investigated the effects of CoQ10 supplementation and sperm function in infertile men. The men were randomly assigned to receive either a 300 mg CoQ10 supplement or a placebo. The study results showed significant improvement in semen quality and density in the men receiving the CoQ10 supplement. The authors of the study suggest, however, that more research is needed before formal recommendations can be made.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and an important antioxidant. The American Dietetic Association recommends men consume at least 90 mg of vitamin C to improve their fertility. A study published in 2006 in the "Journal of Medicinal Foods" proved vitamin C increases sperm production. The study monitored the effects of vitamin C supplementation on sperm motility, sperm count and sperm health in infertile men. The men were given 1,000 mg of vitamin C twice a day for two months. At the end of the study, the supplemented men showed marked improvements in all three parameters, with sperm count increasing from 14 million per ml of semen to 32 million per ml of semen.
Zinc and Folate
A trace mineral, zinc is found in only a few foods. Zinc deficiency is linked to infertility in men, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Folate is a B vitamin needed for the production and maintenance of new cells. A study published in the journal "Fertility and Sterility" in 2002 showed a positive relationship between zinc and folate supplementation and sperm production in infertile men. The study randomly assigned four groups of men to receive either 5 mg of folic acid, 66 mg of zinc, 5 mg of folic acid and zinc or a placebo. The men taking the folic acid and zinc combination improved their sperm count by 74 percent. Although this information is promising, the study authors suggest more research is needed before making final recommendations.
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Age and Fertility
- "Journal of Medicinal Food"; Improvement in Human Semen Quality After Oral Supplementation of Vitamin C; M. Akmal; 2006
- "Journal of Urology"; Efficacy of Coenzyme Q10 on Semen Parameters, Sperm Function and Reproductive Hormones in Infertile Men; M.R. Safarinejad; 2009
- "Fertility and Sterility"; Effects of Folic Acid and Zinc Sulfate on Male Factor Subfertility: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial