Prenatals Aren’t Just For Women

by Dr. Jennifer Fitzgerald ND | Follow on Twitter

Fertility includes both a healthy egg and sperm. So why aren’t more men recommended prenatal vitamins?

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DID YOU KNOW THAT SEMEN CONTAINS TRACE AMOUNTS of every single nutrient the human body uses? This includes higher concentrations of commonly deficient nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and selenium.

While the importance of prenatal vitamins in women is widely accepted, rarely do you hear them recommended for men. The following are three (of many) reasons men should take vitamins before conceiving.

1. It Takes Two

Sperm and eggs are of equal importance in conception, both providing half of the required DNA to produce a baby. It takes sperm up to 116 days to generate (eggs take about 100 days), and ALL vitamins and minerals are required at one time or another in the development of healthy sperm. Supplementation is recommended for 4 months prior to conception for females AND males.

2. Size Matters

Sperm are much smaller than eggs, and therefore are more vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies and toxicity. Toxins are everywhere in our environment, from air pollution, to pesticides and medications. Men tend to be exposed to more toxic work environments. Many toxins are associated with causing DNA damage in sperm. Antioxidants are important for protecting against DNA damage, for example, Vitamin C has been linked to improved sperm parameters and a decreased risk of birth defects.

3. Swim Baby Swim

Sperm count, motility, morphology. All are important in the ability of the sperm to fertilize the egg. Several nutrients are involved in the production of healthy sperm. For example, zinc is required for testosterone production, testicular growth, sperm production (count), motility, semen volume and it reduces excess estrogen.

Miscarriage rates are linked to the health of sperm. One study showed that an abnormal sperm count of 14% miscarried at a rate of 14%, and a count of 43% abnormal sperm miscarried at a rate of 84%. Nutrient deficiencies associated with abnormal sperm and miscarriage include zinc, selenium, CoQ10 and lipoic acid.

Fertility is more than just a healthy egg -- Men need prenatals too. (photo credit: pixabay)

Fertility is more than just a healthy egg — Men need prenatals too. (photo credit: pixabay)

Anyone experiencing fertility problems should consider being tested for nutritional deficiencies. Analysis of blood, urine, saliva and hair are all great tools to measure vitamin and mineral status as well as exposure to toxic elements. Simply correcting nutrient deficiencies can make vast improvements in sperm health.

About the Author
Dr. Jennifer Fitzgerald ND

Dr. Fitzgerald is a Naturopathic Doctor and co-founder of Conceive Health Clinic. Her clinical focus is fertility and reproductive endocrinology, including preconception healthcare, female and male infertility, IVF support, recurrent pregnancy loss, endometriosis and PCOS. Dr. Fitzgerald uses an integrative approach to treatment with an emphasis on functional medicine, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine and acupuncture. Conceive Health Clinic is located within the Toronto Center for Advanced Reproductive Technology (TCART Fertility Partners) at 150 Bloor St West, Toronto, Ontario. Contact her at drfitzgerald@conceivehealthclinic.com or 416-972-0110.