Do men need prenatal nutrient support? Yes, although not the same nutrients that are in female prenatal supplements. Taking a good quality multivitamin will never hurt, but there are other factors to consider when supplementing a man’s diet for fertility purposes. Here are the top four supplements to consider. (Keep in mind: supplements should be approved by a doctor or nutritionist who can determine if they’re safe for you as some can interact with existing medications or health conditions.)
Zinc is an essential component of sperm and is required for testosterone production, so it only makes sense to replenish that daily. Since the average diet only takes in about half or less of a man’s recommended daily intake, a daily supplement of 15 mg of zinc can be a big boost to sperm health and overall fertility.
Antioxidants of all kinds are beneficial to male fertility because they reduce oxidative stress that can hinder semen production and the normal development of sperm. The average American diet is very low in antioxidants, so a once-a-day supplement can go a long way. Aim for a capsule with 400-600 IU, but no more than 800IU per day. If you’re taking a multivitamin, make sure to check the dosage of vitamin E that it contains. It’s important to note that men who have high blood pressure should not take more than 400IU daily.
Folate is an essential nutrient for male fertility. There’s an important distinction to be made between folate and folic acid. Most sources say they’re one and the same, but there’s a key difference when they’re compared in supplement form. Folate indicates active form, also known as L-5-MTHF (methylfolate), whereas folic acid refers to the synthetic version that is inactivated. What’s so important about methylfolate? Since around half of the population has a genetic mutation known as MTHFR that can make it hard for bodies to activate folic acid, it’s beneficial to take the already activated form. Folate deficiencies can contribute to birth defects, miscarriage, and other pregnancy complications. Men should take 3-5mg of L-5-MTHF daily for optimal fertility, along with the active form of vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin).
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant in the body that also helps sperm to swim faster, which is ideal for fertility. Since it actively works against oxidative stress in the body, coenzyme Q10 is also beneficial to a man’s overall health and wellness. Studies have shown that 100-300mg daily is optimal for male fertility. Some multivitamins contain coQ10, so be sure to check before you take a separate supplement.
About This Blogger: Aimee McNew
Aimee McNew, MNT is a certified nutritionist who specializes in women’s health, fertility, and autoimmune disorders. She has been in private practice since 2010 and runs a website and blog devoted to women’s health and wellness. Aimee specialized in women’s health and fertility after discovering she had multiple autoimmune and genetic disorders, some of which have contributed to her multiple pregnancy losses. In her free time, she likes creating recipes, cuddling her Boston Terrier, and going on sushi dates with her husband.