Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
Fertility, sometimes, can be improved by taking supplements and making lifestyle changes.
In this article we shall cover the following key points:
- What is sperm count?
- How is low sperm diagnosed?
- The role of vitamin D
What is sperm count?
The number of sperm in a sample of semen is known as sperm count. It determines the quality of semen. Normal healthy sperm count in males is usually 75million sperm per ml and above.
There can be many reasons for low sperm count or oligospermia. Risk factors are many and varied.
They can be genetic, fitness, disturbed health, disease or dietary deficiencies, trauma to testicles.
All the factors including medical, environmental, and lifestyle changes can affect the sperm count and quality negatively.
What are the signs of low sperm count?
You might not even think about sperm count until you start trying to make a family.
You may also expereince other symptoms that are related to low or zero sperm count and may aso be a sign of low testosterone, known as hypogonadism or andropause. These symptoms can be:
- Less facial hair in men
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Swelling and pain around testicles
How is low sperm count diagnosed?
The diagnosis is made through medical history and examination which might involve semen or urine analysis.
Role of vitamin D in increasing sperm count
In the last decade or so vitamin D has proved its metal in being a multi-dimensional organic compound with its benefits in paracrine, autocrine, and endocrine functions.
This vitamin is also known as sunshine vitamin this is made in our skin after exposure to sunlight.
It can also be consumed through food and supplements. Its role in the male reproductive system and health has been studied for a long period and has shown positive results so far.
A consistently positive effect was seen on semen quality in males supplemented with vitamin D.
Low vitamin D in me has been associated with low sperm count and semen quality.
Men that have insufficient vitamin D in their body have been observed to have low sperm count, semen production, and sperm motility as compared to the men who are not deficient.
How does vitamin D work?
Studies show that vitamin D intake activates the vitamin receptors inside the sperm resulting in an increase in calcium levels inside sperm.
This, in return, helps improve sperm motility and induces more sperm production in the semen.
How much vitamin do we need?
There is no set amount but dosage recommendations range from 600-200 iu per day.
Although, people deficient in vitamin D might have to take a larger dose to overcome the deficiency.
Studies have noted that mega-doses of over 10,000iu daily do not cause any unwanted side effects.
Some governments around the world recommend that people take a vitamin D supplement as many people are deficient due to lack of sunshine, working nights, indoors and the lack of available vitamins D in foods.
How can you boost vitamin D levels?
Vitamin D can be obtained in the following ways:
- Spending time in sunlight as it is the best source of vitamin D
- Eating mushrooms
- Add fish and other seafood to your diet
- Eat egg yolks
- Take vitamin D supplements
Low sperm count does not necessarily mean infertility.
It might take longer for people with low sperm count to conceive and might involve some assistance but the results can be seen eventually.
If, however, you suspect you are suffering from this issue, it is highly advised that you see a doctor.
That way you can better understand the reason and extent of your low sperm count and know about the available treatments.
You can discuss the intake of dietary vitamin D and discuss the reason for vitamin D deficiency which can help resolve the root cause of this problem.