Fifteen percent of all couples in the United States have problems conceiving due to issues with infertility, according to MayoClinic.com. In about 50 percent of cases, couple infertility is due to sperm quality, including low sperm count, misshapen sperm and decreased sperm motility. However, it is possible to improve sperm motility and improve fertility.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin needed to make collagen, enhance the immune system and protect cells from oxidation. Vitamin C may also help improve sperm motility in infertile men. A 2006 study conducted by M. Akmal and colleagues at the Dubai Specialized Medical Center & Research Labs investigated the effects of vitamin C supplementation on a various sperm parameters in a group of 13 infertile but otherwise healthy men aged 25 to 35. In an open trial, each participant received 1000mg of vitamin C twice a day for two months. At the end of the study, the researchers noted a significant increase in sperm motility after the vitamin C supplementation and thus concluded that vitamin C may help improve fertility in men and the chances of conception.
Zinc is a mineral that plays an important role in activating enzymatic reactions, wound healing and normal immune function. In men, inadequate levels of zinc in semen decrease sperm motility, according to a 1999 prospective study that tested semen quality in 90 men conducted by R. Henkel and colleagues at the Center of Dermatology and Andrology at the Justus Liebig University in Germany and published in "Fertility and Sterility." Supplementing with zinc has been shown to improve sperm motility, according to a 2008 study published in "Medical Principals and Practice: International Journal of Kuwait University" and conducted by A.E. Omu and colleagues at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Health Sciences Centre at Kuwait University. Forty-five men with immotile sperm were randomly assigned to one of four groups including a zinc only group, zinc with vitamin E group, zinc with vitamin C and E group, or a control group. The study found that zinc therapy with or without the additional supplements improved sperm motility in the men.
Selenium is an important antioxidant that also improves sperm motility. A 1998 double-blind clinically controlled trial published in the "British Journal of Urology" and conducted by R. Scott and colleagues at the Department of Urology at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, investigated the effects of selenium supplementation on a group of subfertile men. Sixty-nine men were randomly assigned to receive a placebo, a selenium supplement or a selenium supplement with vitamins A, C and E for a three-month period. The study showed increased sperm motility in both groups containing selenium and results thus suggest selenium supplementation could improve fertility in men and may improve the chances of conception.
- MayoClinic.com: Male Infertility
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Zinc
- PubMed.gov: The Effect of Oral Selenium Supplementation on Human Sperm Motility
- PubMed.gov: Indications of the Mechanisms Involved in Improved Sperm Parameters By Zinc Therapy
- PubMed.gov: Relevance in Zinc in Human Sperm Flagella and Its Relation to Motility
- PubMed.gov: Improvement in Human Sperm Quality After Oral Supplementation of Vitamin C