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Importance of supplements when planning for pregnancy

Importance Of Supplements When Planning For Pregnancy

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Infertility is a growing problem, affecting one in six couples worldwide. It’s estimated that 40% of the cases are due to fertility problems of the male partner [1] [2].

Male infertility can occur due to multiple causes and depends on genetics, diseases, and general health. Importantly, according to numerous studies, lifestyle and nutrition play a major role when it comes to fertility.

Taking a food supplement can be an easy way to make sure your fertility is up to speed when you and your partner are planning or actively trying to conceive.

There’s a large body of evidence that supports supplementation with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for specific parts of fertility.

Studies show that supplements improve:

Sperm count: Substances such as zinc, in combination with other vitamins, can help you increase the amount of sperm cells in a given amount of semen [7].

Sperm motility: Vitamin E, selenium, CoQ10, L-Carnitine, and DHA have been documented to increase the ability of the sperm cells to swim [8][9][10][11].

DNA quality: Studies have shown that antioxidants has the ability to reduce the number of molecules called ‘free radicals’. These free radicals damage cells throughout the body. The DNA of sperm cells are susceptible to oxidative stress and substances such as L-carnitine, vitamin E, and DHA have been shown to be very efficient in minimizing the risk [3][4][5][6].

Testosterone levels: Low levels of testosterone, the male sex hormone, can play a part in infertility for some men. Substances such as vitamin D, zinc, magnesium and boron can help men to increase their testosterone levels [13][14][15][16][17].

Erectile dysfunction: In some instances, infertility may be due to a reduced sexual action, which could be because of erectile dysfunction, the situation when a man is unable to develop or maintain an erection. L-arginine and Pycnogenol have been shown to give harder and longer erections [12].

A good male fertility supplement should therefore provide a complete spectrum of nutrients. For more information, see the article What supplements should I take to improve my sperm quality?

Ingredient zinc

When should you start taking a fertility supplement?

If you are planning for pregnancy in the next year or two, there are things you could do already today. We recommend you to actively start taking a low dose fertility supplement and adopt some fertility-friendly habits to your lifestyle. It takes the body up to 3 months to produce new sperm cells, so you should start sooner than later!

You should also remember that fertility and general health normally go hand in hand. Things that can improve your overall health will likely also have a positive impact on your fertility and vice versa.

In case you are in doubt about your sperm quality, have a look at our home sperm test device to get a quick and accurate estimation of your fertility.

Make sure that your fertility supplements:

  • Covers the entire spectrum of micronutrients that you need
  • Contains a dose of micronutrients which is close to your Recommended Daily Allowance set by the authorities
  • Contains the ingredients in a bioavailable form that can easily absorb
  • Does not cost so much that it prohibits you from using it in the long run.

Are you already taking fertility supplements and want some guidance or advice? The Exseed coaches are ready to help you so dont hesitate to contact us.

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Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.


Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.


Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.


Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.


There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  


A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.


Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.