Things have changed for the 21st century man: sperm counts have dropped 50 percent in the last decade, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. A quarter of infertility cases are now due to the male and after the age of 24, your odds of conceiving within six months drop 2 per cent a year.
“In recent years the percentage of sperm abnormalities has increased 12-fold,” says Dr Marilyn Glenville, fertility expert and author of Getting Pregnant Faster. The problems don’t stop at pregnancy either; around one in seven end in miscarriage and the quality of your sperm is a major factor here. Don’t reach for the adoption brochures yet though – with some simple menu management, you can still add to the population.
The fertility super-nutrient improves count, motility (aka swimming ability), volume, hormone levels, genetic material, cell division and sex drive, as well as forming the outer layer of the tail of the sperm. Zinc puts the requisite cartridges in your chamber and 15mg per day is the minimum you need. If you’re actively trying, it’s better to double this as the US Department of Agriculture researchers found men lose up to nine percent of their daily zinc intake per ejaculate. Oysters are the richest source, with six providing 16mg. Or nibble daily on pumpkin and sesame seeds.
Behind almost as any pregnancies as happy hour, this mineral increases sperm count and motility, and reduces numbers of abnormal swimmers. It’s also needed for producing testosterone, which in turn governs sperm production. “When selenium levels are low, the tails of sperm may fall off, and deficiencies are also linked to DNA damage,” says UK-based consultant obstetrician Michael Dooley. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, so aim for five a day. If you can’t get your hands on nuts, Glasgow Royal Infirmary research found a 100mcg daily supplement increased chances of conception. Go for GNC Selenium 100mcg ($18.50 for 100 tablets, at GNC stores).
Japanese research from the Yamaguchi University School of Medicine found 42 per cent of men taking a 1,500mcg daily supplement showed improved sperm count and motility. To get the necessary B-boost, add plain natural yogurt to your daily breakfast cereal and have a couple of eggs three times a week with fresh salmon. If you can hack it, liver is a great source to have once a week.