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.
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.
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 medications.
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 medications
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
- anabolic steroids (up to 1 year recovery time)
- exogenous (outside) testosterone
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 calcium
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. Increase healthy fat intake
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.
9. Reduce unhealthy fat intake
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 developme