There are many reasons why men seek out methods of increasing sperm count and semen volume. For some, pregnancy is the goal, while others simply enjoy having a larger volume of ejaculate. There are several methods men can use to increase their semen quality, which include dietary choices, water consumption, lifestyle changes, and taking natural supplements. Depending on these things your sperm count can increase or decrease.
Before looking to scientifically backed supplements and medical treatments, which we will also cover, let’s take a look at some basic things men can do in their everyday lives to improve fertility and sperm count. Psychological stress can play a major factor in sexual health, including sperm count.
“Many clinical studies looking at the effects of psychological stress on male fertility have shown that stress is associated with reduced paternity and abnormal semen parameters. Enough scientific evidence exists to suggest that psychological stress could severely affect spermatogenesis, mainly as a result of varying testosterone secretion. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis has a direct inhibitory action on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis and Leydig cells in the testes. The newly discovered hormone, gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH), also has an inhibitory effect on the HPG axis. Inhibition of the HPG axis results in a fall in testosterone levels, which causes changes in Sertoli cells and the blood-testis barrier, leading to the arrest of spermatogenesis.” (1)
This implies that maintaining mental health can have a positive effect on sexual health as well. Doing things like diet, exercise, meditation, and other positive activities will help sperm count, and sexual health in general.
Foods rich in antioxidants and Vitamins C and E have been shown to have positive effects on sperm motility, health, and general function. “Supplements such as CoQ10 and alpha-tocopherol significantly improve sperm count. Also, carnitine has positive effects on sperm motility and morphology. Simultaneous administration of vitamin E and vitamin C reduces the sperm DNA damage. However, in some studies, one or more factors have not changed substantially. In most of the studies, antioxidant supplementation improved the number, motility, morphology and sometimes DNA integrity of sperm. The present study showed that antioxidant supplements, especially a combination of antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and CoQ10 intake can effectively improve semen parameters in infertile men.” (2)
Some vitamin C rich foods include broccoli, oranges, and spinach. Foods containing high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids can also improve sperm function (3). Foods like avocado, walnuts, and fish are great and healthy sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
A woman doesn’t immediatly get pregnant after sex. It can take up to six days after sex for the sperm and egg to join and form a fertilized egg. After fertilization it can take three to four days for the fertilized egg to completely implant itself in the lining of the uterus. Pregnancy begins during implantation, when the hormones needed to support pregnancy are released (4).
Implantation cannot happen immediately after fertilization because it takes time for the fertilized egg to reach the uterus.
One study suggests that the later a fertilized egg implants, the more likely early pregnancy loss becomes.The study found that implantation occurred on days 8–10 after ovulation for 84% of participants. Of the eggs that implanted after day 11, 82% resulted in pregnancy loss before 6 weeks (5).
If increasing sperm count is the goal there are multiple supplement strategies that can be used. Having a healthy prostate means you will make more sperm, and more healthy sperm. Supplements like Pygeum are used to prevent benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), which could cause reduced semen volume and sperm count. Pygeum bark extract also supports existing prostate tissue, effectively improving its architecture and therefore function. This ultimately helps Pygeum produce more seminal fluid, ensuring forceful ejaculation of semen.
L-Arginine is an important amino acid for sperm production. Research shows that several months of L-arginine supplementation increases sperm count, quality, and fertility.
Some men are classified as having Hyperspermia, which is a condition where they produce much more semen through ejaculation than the average male. For these men, they may not want to increase their cum load any further.
Men who consume zinc experience increased testosterone concentrations in their blood and increased semen volume with higher sperm concentrations. This increase in volume is due to multiple factors, but most importantly an increase in spermatogenesis: the process of making sperm.
The sperm created by increased zinc supplementation also exhibit higher motility than zinc-depleted sperm. Moreover, zinc acts as an antioxidant in seminal fluid, promoting semen viability and fertility. This powerful element also functions as an antibacterial agent in the male genitourinary system, maintaining the delicate balance of the male microbiome.
There is some evidence that suggests Vitamin E may play a role in increasing sperm count, but there is more research needed to prove this more conclusively.
Aside from sperm count, semen volume is another important factor in overall sexual health. Drinking water will always be helpful in making more seminal fluid, but there are supplements that can aid the process of semen production as well. Some proven nutrients for semen volume are Pygeum, Zinc, Lecitihin, Vitamin E, and L-Arginine. This combination of supplement stacks is often referred to a the holy grail of sex or the holy grail of semen volume.
Testosterone injections, or TRT can have a negative impact on sperm count. Since exogenous testosterone injections signal to the body that it already has enough testosterone, the body signals to the testicles to produce less testosterone. This also means that the testicles are operating at a lower capacity, which causes them to produce less sperm, or halt sperm production altogether. From a 2018 study:
“Testosterone therapy is a contraceptive, albeit a poor one. Men of reproductive age with low testosterone should be counseled on the adverse effects of TRT on fertility. Obtaining a semen analysis and possible cryopreservation of sperm should be offered if TRT is prescribed to men interested in preserving fertility. Options such as clomiphene citrate and hCG along with a referral to a reproductive urologist should be considered to naturally increase testosterone levels in those men with low testosterone who want to avoid TRT (7).”
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin or hCG works very quickly whe injected. Subjects of an hCG study showed increased sperm counts after 6 months of use.
According to American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists clinical guideline hCG alone can initiate sperm production and it should be initial therapy of choice for at least 6-12 months. Therapy with hCG is generally started at 1,000 to 2,000 IU intramuscularly 2–3 times a week.
“Our results demonstrated that administration of hCG therapy beside varicocelectomy can improve the fertility rate and better spermatogenesis with lower adverse effects in patients with varicocele and abnormal semen analysis. This can lead to improve the pregnancy rate. We proposed that treatment of male infertility in varicocele with hCG may prove cost effective and one can achieve pregnancy naturally without assisted reproductive techniques related complication. It is recommended to use this choice for similar patients; however, performing more research in large scale population and multi-centric studies are needed to provide more evidence of using this choice (8).”
Edging is the practice of becoming sexually stimulated, but not orgasming. This can be to the point of near orgasm, and then stopping being ejaculation. While edging can cause a higher volume of semen to be ejaculated, it doesn’t increase the sperm count, per unit of volume, of the ejaculation.
After orgasm men experience a refractory period. This period can last minutes to hours, and that time depends on many factors. A main factor is age. As men get older the refractory period gets longer. There are a few tricks to reducing the refractory period, or skipping it altogether. Reducing stimulation during orgasm can allow a man to continue sex more quickly afterward, even using the same erection. While it’s nearly impossible for men to have multiple ejaculatory orgasms with no refractory period, you can climax several times in a row if you don’t release any semen. The technique is known as non-ejaculatory multiple orgasm, or NEMO, and involves strengthening your pelvic floor.
Another option is to work with a partner to build up sexual stamina, allowing the man to more quickly return to sex (6). Breathing exercises, kegel exercises, and abdominal health can all help with improving sexual stamina.