Sperm count measures the concentration of sperm in a man’s ejaculate measured in million sperm per milliliter. It is important to distinguish it from total sperm count, which is the sperm count multiplied with volume, i.e. the number of milliliters1 The average sperm count today is between 20 and 40 million per milliliter in the Western world, having decreased by 1-2% per year from a substantially higher number decades ago2
Over 15 million sperm per milliliter is considered normal, according to the WHO guidelines in 20103. Previous to this downward revision, 20 million was considered normal4
Low sperm count
Oligozoospermia refers to semen with a low sperm count. Semen with a decreased sperm count often also shows abnormalities in sperm morphology and motility (technically “oligoasthenoteratozoospermia”). Following a successful vasectomy the semen sample is azoospermic. This means that the semen of the man does not have a measurable level of sperm.
Improving sperm count
There are a number of things a man can do to improve his sperm count. These include lifestyle choices such as the elimination of fast food, nicotine and alcohol, regular exercise, restful sleep and the reduction of stress. In addition, scientific studies have shown that an increase in sperm count can be achieved by taking the following food supplements:
- 2000 mg/day vitamin C increases sperm count 129% in 2 months5
- 5 mg folic acid + 66 mg zinc improves sperm count by 74%, but induces 4% increase in abnormal sperm6
- 4 mg/day lycopene improves sperm count by 22 million/ml after 90 days7
- 3 g/day L-Carnitine increases sperm count by 15% after 90 days8
- Vitamin D (men low in vitamin D have lower sperm counts9)
How to Increase Sperm Count Naturally
The sperm generation process is particularly sensitive to external factors. These include trauma (heat, physical force), energy and nutrient supply for the cells “under construction” as well as oxidative stress.
There are a number of things a man can do to improve his fertility. These include lifestyle choices such as the elimination of fast food, nicotine and alcohol, regular exercise, restful sleep and the reduction of stress.
In addition, scientific studies have show that an increase in sperm count can be achieved by taking the following food supplements:
- amino acids such as Arginine and Carnitine
- antioxidants such as Glutathione and and co-emzyme Q10
- trace metals such as zinc and selenium
- vitamins such as A, B9 (folic acid), C, D and E
- extracts such as pine bark extracts (Pycgnogenol)
These amino acids, vitamins and trace elements are naturally occurring nutrients and no side effects are to be expected. On the contrary, increasing the supply of such micronutrients causes significant health benefits such as a stabilisation of the immune system, a positive effect on cardiovascular circulation and skin and hair health.
There is therefore no medical reason not to implement a micronutrient rich diet for a minimum of six months to increase fertility. Ideally this should be carried on until successful conception.
- “http://www.sharedjourney.com/define/semen.html” ↩
- “http://ispub.com/IJU/2/1/7519” ↩
- “http://humupd.oxfordjournals.org/content/16/3/231” ↩
- “Essig, Maria G.; Edited by Susan Van Houten and Tracy Landauer, Reviewed by Martin Gabica and Avery L. Seifert (2007-02-20). “Semen Analysis”. Healthwise. WebMD. Retrieved 2007-08-05″ ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17004914” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11872201” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12899230” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8529529” ↩
- “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23042450” ↩