Inadequate sperm production and quality is one of the most common reasons for male infertility as it decreases the odds of one of the sperms fertilizing the egg for conception.
According to the World Health Organization, the normal concentration of sperm is at least 20 million per ml of semen. Fewer than 15 million sperm per ml is considered a low sperm count, also called oligozoospermia. Conception problems are associated with fewer than 40 million moving sperm in the ejaculate.
Oligoospermia can happen due to a wide variety of reasons and contributing factors like hormonal abnormalities, infected semen, infection in the prostate gland, varicoceles (enlargement of veins within the scrotum), damaged sperm ducts, use of anabolic steroids, cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, toxic chemicals, certain medications, heavy metal exposure and radiation. Even vaginal lubricants tend to be toxic to sperm.
Recent studies indicate that heating of the testicles due to electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) may also contribute to low sperm count. Thus, habits like keeping a laptop on your lap and a cell phone in your pants pocket are often discouraged.
Various natural remedies and other tips can help increase your sperm count and also improve sperm quality.
Here are the top 10 home remedies to increase sperm count.
1. Maca Root
Maca root of the black variety can help improve sperm production and motility. It is a popular fertility herb that helps balance the hormones.
Take 1 to 3 teaspoons of maca root in 2 divided doses for a few months daily. You can add it to a glass of water, a healthy smoothie or protein shake, or just sprinkle it on cereal. As maca root is high in fiber, start by taking ½ teaspoon and gradually increase the dosage over a few weeks.
A 2013 pilot study by Indian researchers, published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found that ashwagandha root extract can significantly increase sperm count, semen volume and sperm motility. The study participants were given 675 mg of ashwagandha root extract in 3 divided doses, daily for 90 days.
Plus, this herb promotes healthy testosterone production. It also improves your overall health, increases vitality and reduces stress and anxiety.
- Mix ½ teaspoon of ashwagandha powder, also known as Indian ginseng, in a glass of warm milk. Drink it twice daily for a few months.
- Another option is to take ashwagandha root extract. Consult your doctor for proper dosage.
3. Panax Ginseng
Panax ginseng, also known as Korean ginseng, is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to help the body adapt to stress. It also can be used to increase testosterone, and sperm count and motility to enhance male fertility. Panax ginseng can help improve erectile performance as well.
Take 1 to 3 capsules of 500 mg Panax ginseng daily for at least 3 months. Consult your doctor before starting this or any other supplement regimen.
Garlic acts as a natural aphrodisiac and increases sperm production. It contains a compound called allicin, which boosts the endurance of the sperm and also improves blood circulation. Plus, the mineral selenium in garlic helps improve sperm motility.
Simply include 1 or 2 crushed garlic cloves in your daily diet.
Tribulus terrestris, also known as gokshura, is an Ayurvedic remedy to increase sperm count and improve sperm quality as it can enhance hormone levels. A 2012 study by Indian researchers also found this aphrodisiac herb to be helpful in treating oligozoospermia (low sperm count).
Take 1 to 3 capsules of 500 mg Tribulus terrestris daily for a few months, but only after consulting your doctor.
6. Moderate Exercise
Studies have found that moderate exercise can help boost healthy sperm production. In fact, a 2013 study published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine indicates that the increase in sedentary lifestyle among young men has lead to a decline in the overall quality of semen.
The study found that young men who lived a sedentary lifestyle and watched more than 20 hours of television a week had a 50% lower sperm count compared to those who did not watch much TV.
On the other hand, those who engaged in at least 15 hours of moderate exercise a week had better sperm quality and 73% higher sperm count than those who engaged in little or no exercise.
To increase your sperm count, do some type of physical exercise for at least 1 hour a day on a regular basis. Outdoor physical activities (except cycling) as well as weight training are also beneficial.
Note: Avoid overexertion as it can lead to a decrease in sperm count. Cycling, too, is not recommended as it can place pressure against the scrotum and increase scrotum temperature.
Damiana is another useful herb for low sperm count. It also calms the nerves, relieves anxiety and mental exhaustion, and acts as a muscle relaxant.
- Steep ¼ teaspoon of dried damiana leaves in a cup of boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the solution and sweeten with a little honey. Drink it up to 3 times a day for a few months.
- You can also take this herb in supplement form after consulting your doctor.
8. Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto, commonly used for prostate health, is another useful herb to increase sperm count. It is also good for treating erectile dysfunction.
Take 160 mg of saw palmetto extract twice daily for a few months, after consulting your doctor. The supplement should be standardized to contain 85 to 95% fatty acids and sterols.
9. Horny Goat Weed
Horny goat weed is a time-tested aphrodisiac commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. It helps increase sperm production and treat erectile dysfunction. Horny goat weed supplements, however, have not been tested for safety as yet.
Take 250 to 500 mg of horny goat weed supplement daily for a few months, after consulting your doctor.
10. Green Tea
Research suggests that the high antioxidants in green tea have good fertility-boosting potential as they neutralize free radicals that can damage sperm cells.
According to a 2012 study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, low doses of a compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) present in green tea can improve sperm quality, including motility, thus improving its potential for fertilization. However, higher concentrations of EGCG can have an opposite effect. Thus, further studies are still required.
Drink 1 or 2 cups of green tea daily to enjoy enhanced fertility as well as overall health.
- Go organic in terms of food as well as other products, such as deodorants and other cosmetics, to avoid toxic chemicals.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin C, zinc, selenium, folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, such as pumpkin seeds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, spinach, eggs, lentils, beans, broccoli, tomatoes and oranges. You can also take nutritional supplements after consulting your doctor.
- Avoid the use of plastic bottles, containers and other items made of plastic to reduce xenoestrogen (environmental estrogen) exposure.
- Do not wear tight briefs or boxers.
- Steer clear of hot baths and saunas to avoid heating the testicles, which is detrimental to normal sperm production.
- Manage stress as it can interfere with the hormones that help produce sperms.
- Keep your weight in check.
- Get proper sleep.