Do Men Need a Prenatal, Too?
Prenatal vitamins are non-negotiable for pregnant women to keep mom and baby healthy.* Even most women trying to conceive add a preconception or prenatal supplement to their routine to make sure they get all the nutrients they need to optimize their fertility.*
But fertility is a shared responsibility – both partners play an important role in preparing for a healthy pregnancy. So, should men take a prenatal, too?
The short answer: yes. But not just any prenatal vitamin. Certain nutrients can help support male fertility and give your swimmers the best shot to conceive, so it’s important to choose a male fertility supplement that’s specifically formulated with your needs in mind.*
What nutrients should you look for in a male fertility supplement?
Consider these nine nutrients when you’re looking for the best prenatal vitamins for men. They’re supported by scientific evidence, so you can trust them to support your fertility.*
Vitamin C is one of the most abundant antioxidants in semen – and for good reason. Vitamin C covers all the bases for male fertility and helps support healthy sperm shape, motility (how well sperm move), and even sperm count. * Vitamin C also helps regenerate vitamin E, another important antioxidant. Antioxidants play a key role in keeping sperm healthy, so the more antioxidants present in semen, the better.*
As a sidekick to vitamin C, vitamin E focuses a lot of its energy on keeping the cell membrane of sperm healthy.* Every cell in the human body has a cell membrane, and it protects the inside of the cell from the outside environment.* So, a strong sperm cell membrane is essential for sperm quality.*
Vitamin D plays a key role in healthy testosterone levels and overall fertility.* Research shows that vitamin D helps support healthy sperm motility and has even linked healthy vitamin D levels with pregnancy rates.
Zinc is a trace mineral, and although you don’t need a large amount of this nutrient, it still plays a major role in male fertility.* It’s involved from the very beginning and plays an integral role in sperm formation.* Zinc also helps promote healthy testosterone levels and sperm motility. *
Folate belongs to the B-vitamin family. It’s well-known for female fertility and helps support healthy neural tube development for babies in early pregnancy.* But it may play a role in male fertility, too. Studies show that folate and zinc may work together to support healthy sperm count.*
Selenium is another powerful antioxidant, especially when combined with vitamin E. Research suggests that these two nutrients work together to promote sperm motility, as well as sperm shape.*
Lycopene is a phytonutrient (plant nutrient) that gives fruits and vegetables their bright red or pink hue – think tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit. The testes contain particularly high levels of lycopene, which reinforces its important role in male fertility and sperm quality.*
L-carnitine is made from an amino acid in the body. It’s involved in energy production and is especially beneficial for sperm motility.*
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10 doesn’t come standard in most male prenatal supplements, but it’s an easy add-on to complete your male fertility supplement routine. CoQ10 is a vitamin-like nutrient, and it uses its strong antioxidant properties to support your fertility.* Research shows that CoQ10 helps support healthy sperm shape and motility, and may even promote healthy sperm concentration.*
How do you choose the best male fertility supplement?
Your male prenatal should check all the boxes for research-based fertility nutrients – but that’s just the bare minimum. If you’re focusing on high-quality sperm, it’s important to choose a high-quality supplement.* Transparency is key. Look for a male fertility supplement that’s independently tested a certified by a trusted organization, like NSF ® International, and avoid supplements that include proprietary blends that don’t disclose the dose of each nutrient.
How long should you take a male fertility supplement?
Sperm development, also known as spermatogenesis, is a complex process that takes a lot of time. It can take up to three months for sperm to fully mature and be ready to function at their best. So, give yourself time to focus on your fertility, and start taking a male fertility supplement at least three months before you try to conceive. Most men continue their supplement routine until pregnancy is achieved.
In addition to a balanced diet, regular exercise, and other healthy lifestyle habits, a high-quality male prenatal supplement is a great way to support your fertility.* Be sure to keep your healthcare provider in the loop and talk to them about family planning. They can help guide you along the process and may even recommend a semen analysis to get a better picture of your fertility.