Vitamin C for Fertility - Does It Really Help?

Thinking of taking vitamin C for fertility enhancement in males?

It has been long suspected that antioxidant supplements might protect the fragile sperm cells during their long journey to the female egg.

Vitamin C is a well-studied and potent antioxidant and experts believe that it could be beneficial in improving the "durability" and quality of the sperm.

The protective effects of antioxidants on cells in general may also explain why supplements like coenzyme Q10, melatonin and pycnogenol might work to promote fertility.

In this report, we will focus on four clinical studies and summarize the results on the benefits of vitamin C in enhancing fertility in men. Then you can decide if it would be of a benefit in your particular situation.

Research Studies on Using Vitamin C for Fertility Improvements

Research Study #1

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This older study recruited 31 men who suffer from low sperm motility or low sperm count.

This study showed that taking vitamin C along with vitamin E had no effect on sperm motility or quantity. It also did not increase the sperm's ability to survive after a 24 hour period.

However, it revealed that prolonged abstinence has significant benefits in allowing more sperms cells to be made. This makes sense from a logical standpoint.

In this study, abstaining from sexual intercourse for 7 days produced greater sperm count, concentration and the amount of ejaculated fluids compared to just 2 days.

Let's look at the second study...

Research Study #2

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Fertility specialists sometime use clomiphene (Clomid or Serophene) to help boost sperm count in infertile men. In this study, it is shown that the fertility rate is the same whether a man takes vitamin C or clomiphene.

The researchers concluded that vitamin C produces the same result as taking clomiphene. They suggested just using Vitamin C since it is cheaper.

The two studies above do not address the benefits of using vitamin C as an antioxidant for protecting the delicate and important genetic material (DNA) found in the sperm cell.

But is there any study to show that the sperm critical DNA (genetic material) can be protected with vitamin C supplements?

Indeed yes. The two studies below showed such a benefit of vitamin C in preserving the quality of the genetic material.

Research Study #3

vitamin c for fertility reference three

Although vitamin C does not boost sperm count or motility, there is good evidence that taking vitamin C protects the DNA in the sperm cells from oxidative damage.

There's no point for a sperm cell to efficiently and rapidly fertilize the female egg with a defective payload of genetic material.

This study recruited 17 men whose spouse suffered from at least two embryo losses (miscarriage) before 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Men who have high oxidative stress in their system were asked to go on a diet rich in antioxidant foods or to take an antioxidant multi-vitamin daily for 3 months.

Six out of the nine men who have high oxidative stress levels who got their spouse pregnant resulted in successfully deliveries.

The researchers in this study concluded that eating foods rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants can help couples who experience miscarriages.

And the the last study presented below also supports the benefits of vitamin C in protecting the DNA in the sperm cells.

Research Study #4

vitamin c for fertility reference four

Sixty-four infertile men were randomly assigned to take 1 gram of vitamin C and E or a matching placebo (sugar pill) for 2 months. Sperm cells were then collected and analyzed for DNA damage.

The results clearly show that taking vitamin C and E significantly reduced DNA damage in the sperm cells.

Taken together, these four studies (and many others) point towards the importance for a man to take antioxidants, such as vitamin C, for protecting the sperm's DNA.

What About the Benefits of Vitamin C for Fertility in Women?

Although not presented here, there are clinical studies to show that a woman can benefit from taking vitamin C.

One study showed that women undergoing IVF treatment taking vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E had stronger oxidative protection for the unfertilized egg.

The female egg contains the other half of the DNA needed to conceive a child and it needs to be protected against oxidative damage just like the sperm cell.

What Is the Dose of Vitamin C for Fertility Enhancement?

Research studies suggest a dose of 1,000 mg daily for men and a dose of 750 mg daily for women. (Each partner can safely take 1,000 mg daily of vitamin c for fertility improvements.)

Higher dose may be safely used. Discuss this with your fertility specialist or family doctor first.

Bottom Line

Thinking of taking vitamin C for fertility?

Why not? The potential is there. Certainly, we'll need much larger and better designed clinical trials to come to a more solid conclusion.

Fortunately, it is low cost, safe and offers other secondary benefits beyond helping to enhance fertility.

Take 1,000 mg (1 gram) of vitamin C daily. The slow-release format is preferred to allow the body to absorb it gradually over the course of the day.

Keep in mind that the research studies showed that vitamin C protects the sperm's DNA from oxidative damage. It does not seem to increase sperm motility or quantity.

There are many other natural remedies such as vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, vitamin B12, melatonin and pycnogenol that can boost sperm motility and quality.

See Increase Sperm Motility to find out all the natural remedies that can be used to boost sperm motility.

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References for Vitamin C for Fertility

Revised: August 22, 2020