Vitamin D and Zinc: Its Role in Male Fertility

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Male fertility plays a crucial role in a couple’s ability to conceive. A male is fertile when a semen analysis states that he has 15 million or more sperm per millilitre. When the analysis states that there are some parameters that are not within range, it can be a possible cause of male fertility problems leading to infertility.

Research indicates that certain nutrients and vitamins can enhance male fertility, with Vitamin C and Zinc being notable examples. These nutrients are essential for preserving sperm health, aiding in their development, and maintaining proper reproductive function, thereby contributing significantly to overall male fertility.


What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and is available in different forms as Vitamin D1 - Vitamin D5. The human body creates vitamin D naturally when the skin is exposed to sunlight in the form of D3. Vitamin D also plays an important role in the normal functioning of the body including the strength and health of bones and the immune system.

Where Can Vitamin D Be Found?

When an individual is experiencing Vitamin D deficiency, they might be able to replenish their vitamin D stores by consuming foods that are rich in vitamin D including salmon, sardines, tuna, beef liver and eggs. Natural Vitamin D can also be increased by exposure to the sun. It is important to always protect the skin by wearing sunscreen.

Individuals with vitamin D deficiency may present with symptoms such as fatigue, bone or muscle pain and bone fractures. Vitamin D can also be given pharmacologically in the form of a vitamin D supplement tablet. The recommended intake of Vitamin D for adults up to the age of 70 is 600IU.

Vitamin D’s Role In Male Fertility

Vitamin D receptors have been found in the testis of a male as well as in spermatozoa. Although Vitamin D is most important for the skeletal system, intestines, parathyroid glands and kidneys, studies have recently extended the spectrum of where else in the body vitamin D plays an important role. Among other areas in the body where vitamin D plays a role such as the immune system, pancreas and cardiovascular system, one of them is also the reproductive system. The most common and biologically important forms of vitamin D are ergocalciferol (vitamin D) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3).

Vitamin D can influence the production of testosterone indirectly. When there is insufficient vitamin D present, it can affect Leydig cells, which are responsible for the production of testosterone. When this is decreased, the amount of sperm production will also be decreased, causing low fertility in men.

What is Zinc?

Zinc is an element that is found on the periodic table and has various functions in the human body. Zinc is not naturally produced by the body and needs to be taken in via supplements or foods containing zinc. Zinc plays a role in the body via skin health, the immune system, and wound healing and contributes to the metabolism of various enzymes.

Where To Find Zinc?

The recommended dietary allowance for adult males is 11mg and can be found in foods such as shellfish, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. It can also be found in a pharmaceutical form as a supplement.

Zinc’s Role In Male Fertility

Zinc plays an important role in the function of spermatozoa as well as the processes responsible for successful fertilization. An insufficient amount of Zinc can cause a decrease in testicular size and a disruption in the spermatogenesis process, causing less sperm count and more fertility problems. Zinc has also been known to have an antibacterial activity which can help to prevent infection within the reproductive tract of both males and females.

Research shows that zinc is present in semen and is mainly produced by the prostate gland. Zinc is crucial for sperm count and quality, as well as for successful fertilization. Additionally, zinc plays a role in the capacitation process of sperm. This happens when sperm are released into the female's womb. During this process, sperm change to prepare for fertilizing an egg.


Role of Zinc in Sperm Freezing

On top of all that, zinc also plays a role in assisted reproductive techniques. When men decide to preserve their sperm by freezing it, sometimes the sperm loses some of its quality because it is not in seminal fluid that contains nutrients and antioxidants anymore. This is where zinc comes in. Zinc is used in the appropriate amounts and then added to the sperm sample to act as an antioxidant and reduce oxidative stress, which can cause harm to sperm and their structure.

When to Take Vitamin D or Zinc Supplements

Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet will come naturally and easily to an individual to get the right amount of zinc and vitamin D that is required. It is advised that if a male is experiencing any fertility problems, to consult a doctor first before turning to pharmaceutical supplements. The doctor will be able to perform a physical examination of the prostate, testis and body and can require a blood test to test for any deficiencies. The doctor will be able to see if these nutrients are deficient and will be able to advise on the best possible way to ingest them and optimize their levels.

There is also a chance that an individual can think that their sperm quality is not optimal and choose to turn to these supplements, but he might miss an important piece of the puzzle. That is why it is better to consult a doctor to get a full picture of the possible problem and find an appropriate solution together.


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