Infertility affects many people and can be a difficult condition to address. Enter FertilAid for Men, a supplement that claims to support fertility and reproductive wellness.
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The supplement, which is manufactured by Fairhaven Health, aims to increase the sperm health (like sperm count and how well sperm moves) of people assigned male at birth (AMAB), according to the FertilAid website.
There's also FertilAid for Women, a supplement for people assigned female at birth (AFAB) that claims to enhance fertility and balance hormones, per the website.
Here's what you need to know about the supplement, including FertilAid's ingredients, side effects and symptoms, and whether it works.
The high doses of certain vitamins and minerals in FertilAid for Men can lead to side effects like nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. In more extreme cases, it may also lead to kidney stones, nerve dysfunction or, ironically, decreased sperm health.
What's in FertilAid?
FertilAid for Men contains vitamins, minerals, herbs and antioxidants. Per the company website, the supplement includes the following amounts and daily value percentages of these nutrients:
- Vitamin A: 1,500 mcg, 167%
- Vitamin C: 250 mg, 278%
- Vitamin D: 10 mcg, 50%
- Vitamin E: 100.5 mg, 670%
- Vitamin K: 80 mcg, 67%
- Thiamin: 1.5 mg, 125%
- Riboflavin: 1.7 mg, 131%
- Niacin: 20 mg, 125%
- Vitamin B6: 2 mg, 118%
- Folate: 850 mcg, 213%
- Vitamin B12: 25 mcg, 1,042%
- Pantothenic acid: 10 mg, 200%
- Iodine: 150 mcg, 100%
- Magnesium: 120 mg, 29%
- Zinc: 30 mg, 273%
- Selenium: 100 mcg, 182%
- Copper: 2 mg, 222%
- Manganese: 2 mg, 87%
- Chromium: 120 mcg, 343%
FertilAid for Men also includes a proprietary blend of herbs that contains L-carnitine, a compound derived from amino acids that your body naturally creates to help you burn fuel for energy, per the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).
L-carnitine may also help improve the quality and quantity of sperm, according to the ODS. However, the research is inconsistent, so more studies are needed to support these claims.
This ingredient may also be linked to sperm health: An August 2013 review in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics found that CoQ10 was associated with increased sperm concentration and movement (though it's important to note that this doesn't necessarily translate to more pregnancies or live births).
How Common Are Fertility Issues?
About 9 percent of people AMAB and 11 percent of people AFAB experience fertility problems, per the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
FertilAid Side Effects
There is no good research outlining the side effects of FertilAid for Men (or FertilAid for Women).
That said, this supplement contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals. And while those nutrients support your overall health when taken in the right doses, getting them in excess from FertilAid for Men might result in the following side effects.
1. Digestive Issues
- Stomach cramps
2. Kidney Stones
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a kidney stone include:
- Severe, sharp pain in your lower side and back
- Pain that radiates or comes in waves
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Pink, red, brown or cloudy urine
- Urinating or feeling the need to urinate more often
- Nausea and vomiting
How Much Is Too Much Vitamin C and D?
3. Nerve Damage
FertilAid for Men contains a high dose of vitamin B6. And too much of the nutrient can lead to possible nerve dysfunction or damage called neuropathy.
Per the Linus Pauling Institute, symptoms of neuropathy include:
- Pain or numbness in your arms and legs
- Difficulty walking
Limit yourself to 1,000 milligrams of vitamin B6 in a day (or less) to avoid overdose-related nerve problems, per the Linus Pauling Institute.
4. Reductive Stress
While antioxidants found in fertility supplements like FertilAid for Men may help support sperm health, taking them too much or for too long may actually contribute to fertility problems, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
That's because they can contribute to reductive stress, a condition where an overload of antioxidants in your body throws off your homeostasis, which can mess with sperm health. It's the counterpart to oxidative stress, a cell-damaging process that antioxidants help combat.
Does FertilAid Work?
In general, there's not much scientific evidence to support the supposed health benefits of male fertility supplements, per a February 2020 review in Urology.
However, the same study — which analyzed 90 different ingredients in 17 common male fertility supplements — found that five ingredients may be linked to better sperm health and live birth rates:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
FertilAid for Men contains all of these ingredients.
But it's important to remember that the FDA does not require supplements like this to be proven safe or effective before they are sold, so there's no guarantee that any supplement you take is safe, contains the ingredients it says it does or produces the effects it claims.
It's best to work with your doctor to determine the cause of and best treatment for your fertility problems, rather than relying on a supplement that's not approved by the FDA, per the Cleveland Clinic.
- FertilAid: "Why FertilAid For Men?"
- FertilAid: "Why FertilAid for Women?"
- Urology: "A Systematic Review and Evidence-based Analysis of Ingredients in Popular Male Fertility Supplements"
- FertilAid: "FertilAid For Men Supplement Facts"
- Office of Dietary Supplements: "Carnitine"
- Mayo Clinic: "Coenzyme Q10"
- Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics: "Coenzyme Q10 and male infertility: a meta-analysis"
- FDA: “FDA 101: Dietary Supplements”
- Cleveland Clinic: "How Effective — and Necessary — Are Male Fertility Supplements?"
- Office of Dietary Supplements: "Zinc"
- Mayo Clinic: "Kidney stones"
- Linus Pauling Institute: "Vitamin B6"
- Mayo Clinic: "Is it possible to take too much vitamin C?"
- Office of Dietary Supplements: "Vitamin D"
- Mayo Clinic: "Zinc"
- National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: "About Infertility and Fertility"
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Carnitine
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Asian Ginseng