Male fertility problems are typically blamed aging and genetics. However, functional practitioners know that an unhealthy lifestyle including high stress, extreme exercise, lack of sleep, drinking and poor nutrition are also top contending causes for infertility.
While some fertility issues are more difficult to recover from than others, the good news is that there are many ways to improve fertility, and particularly the health of the sperm.
Herbs for Boosting Sperm Quality & Quantity
Many factors effect the health of a man's sperm; ultimately, fertility health is a reflection of good overall health. This is why minimizing total stress and anything that increases stress substances like estrogen, cortisol and others is key for a wholistic approach to good fertility health.
In addition to optimizing your lifestyle; i.e, reducing estrogenic substances that deplete testosterone and sex hormone levels, adequate nutrition, weight bearing exercise, and getting good sleep, there are many herbs that can help boost fertility levels.
Here are a few science-backed herbs that can do just that:
Maca: Maca is reputed for its pro-sexual effects and te ability to boost male and female fertility. Ultimately, sexual health is largely determined by hormone balance and since Maca helps to balance hormones and particularly boost progesterone, (a precursor to testosterone) it effectively improves fertility.
In fact, this herb effectively improves the quality of sperm. According to one study, men who regularly took Maca had improvements in sperm motility, and production (sperm per ejaculation). 1
Tribulus: This Ayurvedic herb; especially in combination with weight bearing exercise is known to boost testosterone and improve sperm motility and sperm count. Various studies also have found that Tribulus can also help with improving erectile function, not to mention a boost in libido in men and women. 2
Additional benefits of Tribulus include:
- Increased testosterone production in men
- Decreasing anti-sperm antibodies
- Treating erectile dysfunction
- Ashwagandha: Traditionally, ashwagandha has been used to boost sexual health. It supports the endocrine system and supports its better functioning. It also boosts hormonal balance in the body. It boosts libido and improves sperm count in men. It enhances stamina and improves sexual performance as well.
Schizandra Berry: Also known as the Five Flavor Berry, schizandra is a tonic herb herb used regularly in TCM. One of its key features is to improve liver health. The liver is responsible for enzymatic secretions involved in testosterone production, as well as the metabolism of excess estrogens. By improving liver function, schizandra improves overall hormonal balance in the body, which in turn benefits not just sexual function but also metabolic function, energy, immunity and detoxification. Studies also show that this herb can improve sperm count as well as protect the sperm from oxidative damage that would lead to low sperm quality. 3
- Black Ant: Polyrachis Black Ant is a traditional sexual tonic used to treat sexual exhuastion, low libido and infertility. It's primary mechanisms are due to its high zinc content; an essential mineral for male fertility health. Zinc is a hormone balanceing mineral that helps with the production of hormones such as testosterone. It also supports prostate and sexual functions, and is an antibacterial agent in men’s urea system. It plays a role in epithelial integrity, essential for maintaining the lining of the reproductive organs. In fact, supplementation of zinc is found to significantly increase sperm count. In contrast, it is was known that a zinc deficiency impedes spermatogenesis and is a cause for sperm abnormalities, not to mention is associated with a deficiency of testosterone. Based on these findings, Black Ant as one of the richest sources of zinc serves as a novel herb for for male fertility health and sperm health. 4,5