Does using zinc for fertility help to improve sperm count?
Through studies done in lab settings and on rats, mice and large animals like horses, researchers have discovered a relationship between zinc levels and sperm motility and quality.
Zinc, a trace mineral that your body needs, has antioxidant properties. And sperm quality and motility seem to increase with higher levels of antioxidant protection.
At least this is what is seen in animals. This has lead experts to believe that increasing antioxidant protection might also boost the quality and motility in human sperm cells.
But are there any scientific studies to actually show that this relationship holds true in humans and not just in animals?
Read on to find out about the antioxidant benefits of zinc in protecting the fragile sperm cells...
Zinc and Iron Concentration and SOD Activity in Human Semen and Seminal Plasma.
Marzec-Wroblewska U, Kaminski P, et al.
Biol Trace Elem Res. 2010 Oct 6.
In this first study involving 168 men undergoing infertility treatment, the researchers showed an inverse relationship between high oxidative stress levels and blood zinc levels. (High oxidative stress means lower blood zinc levels.)
High oxidative stress levels (measured by the activity of the superoxide dismutase enzyme) seem to reduce sperm motility, sperm count and semen volume.
They also found that a high iron level in the blood is linked to high amounts of abnormally formed sperm cells.
Effects of folic acid and zinc sulfate on male factor subfertility: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.
Wong WY, Merkus HM, Thomas CM, et al.
Fertil Steril. 2002 Mar;77(3):491-8.
This second well-designed study enrolled a total of 211 men. Of the 211 who participated, one hundred and three men suffered from infertility.
To eliminate researcher bias in analyzing the data and to avoid the placebo effect, the volunteers were randomly assigned to take a look alike placebo (sugar pill), zinc alone or zinc plus folic acid for a total of 26 weeks.
Here are the results from this study:
The group of men who had low fertility showed a 74% increase in the number of normal sperm cells when they took zinc and folic acid. (There was a very small 4% increase in abnormal sperm cells also.)
Men who did not have fertility problems also experienced modest improvements in the number of normal sperm cells.
This study supports the benefits of using zinc for fertility enhancement in men who experience infertility.
In the above study, the volunteers were given 5 mg of folic acid along with 66 mg of zinc. This is a safe and reasonable dose of zinc to take for men. You probably won't find a 66 mg tablet of zinc. Simply take a 50 mg zinc supplement dail and that would be close enough dosing practically.
Many multivitamins contain a small amount of zinc and folic acid, perhaps not enough for men who wish to enhance their sperm quality. Just check by reading the label.
You can take supplemental zinc and folic pills in addition to your regular multivitamin if desired.
Should I consider taking zinc for fertility enhancement?
It appears to help. Zinc as well as many other antioxidants can protect the fragile sperm cells against damage. Moreover, low levels of zinc seem to reduce the quality of the human sperm cells.
We suggest taking 5 mg of folic acid along with at least 50 mg of zinc daily.
See Remedies for Fertility to get access to all the articles outlining natural supplements to boost fertility.