What are the best ways to increase sperm count?

natural ways to increase sperm count
Jennifer Huizen  
by Daniel Murrell, MD
Sperm count or total sperm
count refers to the average total number of sperm present in one sample of
semen. Sperm count is one of the several qualities that are assessed during
routine semen analysis and is considered an important factor for fertility.

Based on the most current
World Health Organization guidelines, a healthy sperm count is 15 million per
milliliter (ml) or at least 39 million per sample. A sperm count lower than 10
million per ml is considered abnormal and commonly associated with male
Anything that impacts the
hormones that control the production of sperm or acts as an anti-oxidant may
aid the healthy development of sperm and help improve sperm count. Overall,
factors that influence testosterone levels are thought to have the most
significant impact on sperm number and quality.

Fast facts on how to increase
sperm count:

  • Exercise and sleep have been
    shown to improve sperm count.
  • The first recommended line of
    treatment is to try non-pharmacologic remedies.
  • Smoking has long been known to
    reduce overall health, sperm production, and quality.
  • Men with very low sperm counts
    may be prescribed medication.
Ways to increase sperm count

For several decades,
researchers have known that sperm quality and fertility rates have been in
decline in most Western nations. According to a 2017 study, between 1973 and
2011 the average sperm count in North America, Europe, Australia, and New
Zealand dropped by 59.3 percent.
Despite studies identifying
the problem, the reasons for this decline and ways to reliably reverse it are
still unknown.
Several non-pharmacologic
remedies have been used by ancient, herbal, and traditional medicines to
increase sperm count and overall sperm health for thousands of years.
Researchers have shown that
most of these remedies influence sperm count in some way.
Natural ways to increase sperm
count include:

1. Exercise and sleep

Several studies have shown
that weight loss and exercise in obese and overweight individuals can lead to
improved or increased sperm counts. However, the science linking a healthy Body
Mass Index (BMI) to a healthy sperm count is still weak.
A 2017 study found that
performing a 16-week aerobic exercise program of at least 50 minutes of
moderate exercise at 50 to 65 percent peak heart rate 3 times weekly, increased
sperm volume and concentration in 45 sedentary, obese men.
2. Reduce stress

Any form of stress can cause
the body to take defensive actions and conserve energy. In times of distress,
it makes biological sense for the body to become less concerned with
reproduction and more focused on surviving.
Reducing stress requires addressing
the cause, though factors such as exercise and a healthful diet are thought to
lessen the effects of stress.
For men who are experiencing
severe stress, a doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety or anti-depressant
3. Stop smoking

A 2016 study reviewing the
results of over 20 different studies with a total of nearly 6,000 participants
found smoking consistently reduced sperm count.
4. Avoid excessive alcohol use
and drugs

The number of studies
exploring the link between sperm health and drugs is limited given ethical
considerations. However, some researchers have linked the worldwide use of
drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine to decreased sperm production.
5. Avoid several prescription

Some prescription medications
can potentially decrease the healthy production of sperm. Once a person stops
taking the drug, his sperm count should return to normal or increase.
Medications that temporarily
reduce the production and development of sperm include:

  • some antibiotics
  • anti-androgens
  • anti-inflammatories
  • antipsychotics
  • corticosteroids
  • anabolic steroids (up to 1
    year recovery time)
  • exogenous (outside)
  • methadone
6. Fenugreek supplement

Fenugreek has long been used
as a natural remedy for poor sperm health, and advocates suggest it may improve
sperm count. A 2017 study found that the patent-pending compound Furosap®,
which is developed from fenugreek seeds, significantly improved overall semen
quality and sperm count.
Various fenugreek products,
including supplements, are available to purchase online.

7. Get enough vitamin D and

Researchers are not entirely
sure why, but vitamin D and calcium serum appear to impact sperm health. Some
studies have shown that low dietary vitamin D intake seems to correspond with
lowered sperm count.
Vitamin D and calcium
supplements are available to purchase in health food stores and online.

8. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha, also known as
Indian ginseng, has long been used in traditional medicines as a remedy for
several forms of sexual dysfunction. A 2016 study found that 46 men with low
sperm counts who took 675 milligrams (mg) of ashwagandha daily for 90 days saw
a 167 percent increase in sperm count.
Ashwagandha is available to
purchase online or in health food stores.

9. Increase intake of
antioxidant-rich foods

Antioxidants are molecules
that help remove and deactivate free radicals and other compounds that damage
cells. Several vitamins and minerals have shown to act as antioxidants, and
several studies have linked antioxidant consumption with increased sperm count.
Antioxidants that may
contribute to a healthy sperm count include:

  • selenium
  • vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  • vitamin E
  • glutathione
  • coenzyme Q10
  • I-carnitine
10. Increase healthy fat

Polyunsaturated fats or so-called
healthy fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6, are crucial to the healthy
development of the sperm membrane.
Some studies have shown that
individuals should consume these two essential omega compounds in equal
quantities for ideal sperm development and antioxidant benefits.
Omega-3 supplements are
available to purchase online from various brands.

11. Reduce unhealthy fat

A 2014 study that surveyed 209
healthy Spanish men between the ages of 18 to 23 years of age found that as
they increased their consumption of trans fatty acids, their sperm count
decreased proportionately.
Several studies have also
shown that trans fatty acids may impair the ability of long-chain
polyunsaturated fats to incorporate into sperm membranes, a critical step in sperm
12. Avoid or limit exposure to
environmental or occupational toxins and contaminants

As the environment and
atmosphere become increasingly polluted and congested, environmental factors,
such as air quality and toxic chemical exposure, have frequently been linked to
reduced sperm health and total count. Avoiding environmental toxins wherever
possible also contributes to overall health.
It is important to point out
that while some studies have shown a link between low sperm count and environmental
contaminants, most of them do not support it.
13. Avoid too much soy or
foods with non-human estrogen

Some foods, especially soy
products, contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogen), compounds shown to reduce
testosterone bonding and sperm production. Many canned and plastic products are
also high in synthetic forms of estrogen.
14. Get enough folate and zinc

Consuming folate and zinc in
combination has been shown in limited studies to increase overall sperm health,
including sperm concentration or total count.
Foods to improve sperm count

Though supplements are
considered a safe way to get the recommended daily intake of most vitamins,
minerals, and antioxidants, the body does not always easily absorb them.
Most studies suggest that
eating foods rich in specific compounds and chemicals allows the body to use
them more efficiently. So the best way to increase sperm count naturally may be
to increase the consumption of foods high in sperm-friendly nutrients.
Foods high in sperm
count-boosting nutrients include:

  • walnuts
  • citrus fruits
  • whole wheat and grains
  • most fish, especially wild
    salmon, cod, and haddock
  • most shellfish, especially
  • vitamin D enhanced milk and
    milk products
  • dark chocolate
  • garlic
  • bananas
  • broccoli
  • ginseng
  • turmeric
  • asparagus
  • most leafy greens, especially
    spinach and kale
  • fermented nuts and seeds
Medications to increase sperm

A doctor may prescribe medication
for men with very low sperm counts or who have additional health factors or
Medications sometimes used to
treat low sperm count include:

  • clomiphene citrate oral
  • serophene oral
  • Gonal-f® RFF* Redi-ject®
    (follitropin alfa or gonal-F) or subcutaneous (under the skin) injections
  • antibiotics if caused by
    urinary or reproductive tract infection
  • human chorionic gonadotrophin
    (hCG) (brand names Choragon and Pregnyl)
  • letrozole or anastrozole
  • exogenous androgens
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.