Male Infertility and Food

Infertility affects between 60 to 80 million couples each year [1], with about 4.9 million couples in India experiencing this, and if the inability to have a second child is added to this number (secondary infertility), it goes up to 17.9 million [4]. The purpose of this article is to highlight dietary factors that could contribute towards improving conception rates of couples from the perspective of male infertility. I’ll address the same from the perspective of female infertility in another post. Interestingly, an obese father may affect the reproductive ability of the child. [1]

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Causes of Male Infertility

  • Demographic and lifestyle causes of male infertility including age, smoking and alcohol [1][2]
  • Obesity and high fat diets (including trans fats and saturated fats) [1][2]
  • High sodium intake [1]
  • Low intake of fruits and vegetables [1]
  • Skipping meals [1]
  • Nutritional deficiencies [1]
  • Abnormal concentrations of blood insulin, sugar and cholesterol [2]

Eat more of these:

  • Low fat dairy products, especially milk [1]
  • Fish / fish oil [1]
  • Fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken and whole grains [1]
    • Especially those that contain Vitamin E, Vitamin C and beta carotene [1][2]
  • EPA and DHA (supplements or otherwise) [1]
  • Foods and supplements containing Selenium, Zinc, carnitine, arginine and vitamin B-12 [2]
  • Grape seed extract [2]
  • Marjoram essential oil [2]
  • Preparations and extracts of various plants. Please see Table 1 in [2] for details.
  • Lycopene supplements (4 – 8 mg per day for 3 – 12 months) [3]

Eat less of these, and do not deprive yourself of food: [1]

  • High fat dairy among other foods 
  • Processed foods, including (red) meats 
  • Fat soluble foods 
  • Red meat 
  • Sweets 
  • Soy based foods 

If you’re looking to regulate your diet in a precise, healthy and sustainable manner, click here.

* The term ‘quality of sperm’ is used as a non-technical placeholder for Total Sperm Count, Sperm Morphology, Progressive Motile Sperm Count, Semen Volume, and Sperm Concentration among others. Please see the references for detailed information.


  1. Nutritional modifications in male infertility: a systematic review covering 2 decades
  2. Male Infertility: The Effect of Natural Antioxidants and Phytocompounds on Seminal Oxidative Stress
  3. Lycopene and male infertility
  4. Trends of Infertility and Childlessness in India: Findings from NFHS Data

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