As a company committed to education and empowerment around perinatal health, we’ve primarily focused thus far on optimal health for women. But there’s more to the baby-making equation than the egg. That’s why we’re thrilled to be expanding our reach to educate and empower men to take control of their fertility and health during the preconception period and the demanding (but rewarding!) dad years that follow.
We’re digging into what men need when it comes to diet and lifestyle in order to thrive through the journey of starting and growing a family.
A Supportive Multivitamin
We always advocate a real, whole food-based diet. However, the realities of our food system and the demands of daily life mean that many times, food alone just isn’t enough - especially when it comes to nutritionally-demanding life stages like conception and fatherhood! A supportive multivitamin helps ensure that you’re getting sufficient amounts of the key nutrients your body needs for optimal health and fertility. There are specific nutrients that support key aspects of men’s health, like hair health, energy, heart health, immunity, blood sugar balance, and fertility. Our Men’s Multi contains supportive doses of the following nutrients:
- Selenium: Selenium can help boost sperm motility, has antioxidant properties, and also supports prostate health, thyroid health, and memory. Look for a supplement with 200mcg of L-Selenomethionine.
- Vitamin B12: Optimal B12 levels support healthy energy and nervous system health. Look for a supplement that combines both adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin (not cyanocobalamin) forms and contains 200mcg. Vitamin B12 is water-soluble and must be consumed daily to maintain optimal levels.
- Zinc: Research has shown that Zinc is critical to healthy sperm production and motility. Zinc also reduces oxidative stress by participating in the synthesis of antioxidant enzymes. Look for a supplement with 25-30mg of Zinc Bisglycinate.
- Choline: Choline supports memory, metabolism, and sperm quality. In fact, research has shown that men with a genetic mutation that inhibits Choline metabolism experience impaired sperm motility and infertility. Look for a supplement that includes at least 250mg of Choline Bitartrate. We offer 150mg of Choline in our Men’s Multi and 100mg of Choline in the Omega-3+ for a total of 250mg. Note that men can benefit from even more Choline, especially if they are not large meat or egg eaters, but ours offers a supportive dose while still keeping the Men's Multi dosage at a manageable four capsules.
- Vitamin D3: Optimal Vitamin D levels support a healthy immune response, hormone production, and sperm quality. 2000IU is a highly supportive amount for men.
- Vitamin K2: In addition to supporting the proper absorption of Vitamin D3 in the body to support bone health, Vitamin K2 supports prostate health. Look for a supplement that contains 90mg of Vitamin K2 as Menaquinone-7.
- Magnesium: Magnesium helps support over 600 enzymatic reactions in the body. It is required for proper muscle function, healthy blood pressure, nervous system regulation and more. Cheaper forms of Magnesium like Magnesium Citrate are poorly absorbed and can have laxative effects, so look for a supplement with Magnesium Bisglycinate, at a dose of at least 150mg.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to overall health. They support heart health, brain health, and help manage inflammation throughout the body. Omega-3s help balance out our Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio, which continues to rise with the excessive use of industrial seed oils. Keeping this ratio low is key to many of Omega-3s health-promoting benefits.
Omega-3 is also critical to men’s fertility and reproductive health. Research shows that Omega-3 supplementation results in higher antioxidant activity in human seminal fluid and enhanced sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm morphology. In addition, one study showed that fertile men had higher blood and sperm levels of Omega-3s compared with the infertile patients and infertile men had lower concentrations of Omega-3s in their sperm than fertile men.
Our Men’s Omega-3+ provides 400mg of DHA and 100mg of EPA to support fertility and sperm health (motility, morphology and count), libido and overall vitality, brain function and mood, hair coverage and skin plumpness, eye and heart health, healthy cell membranes, inflammatory and immune response, and mood and brain function. It also provides Choline, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin for additional antioxidant support, as well as support for brain, eye, skin, and immune health.
A Healthy Gut
The more we learn about gut health, the more we realize just how important it is to every aspect of our health, from digestion and energy to skin health, mental health, immunity, heart health and more.
Of course, we’re discovering that gut health also influences fertility. We know that semen actually has its own microbiome and research suggests that it can influence a man’s fertility, the health of his offspring, and may also affect pregnancy outcomes.
While research around the components of the male microbiome’s role in reproductive outcomes is far less abundant than research around the female microbiome and fertility, the research that exists is promising. In one study, semen samples were collected from 96 men. They were examined for bacterial communities, and then evaluated for quality (volume, sperm concentration, motility, morphology, etc.). The researchers found that the different types of bacteria communities found were “highly associated” with semen health.
Our Men’s Pre/Probiotic+ contains two spore-based strains, Bacillus coagulans SC208 and Bacillus subtilis HU58™, that have been shown to promote optimal digestion and balanced immune function, and to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines known to have antifertility effects, including harming sperm. It also contains the following synergistic ingredients:
- Livaux® Organic Gold Kiwifruit Concentrate: a prebiotic that enhances the abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, the largest producer of butyrate in the gut immune function, improves gut barrier function, enhances microbiome diversity, and supports healthy blood sugar
- Pomanox® Pomegranate Fruit Extract: an extract from the pomegranate fruit which supports microbiome diversity by increasing populations of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, while inhibiting growth of unfavorable species. It supports immune function, antioxidant activity, sperm motility, and testosterone production.
- PrimaVie® Shilajit Extract: a potent extract that supports the balance of testosterone and gonadotropic hormones, and has been shown to enhance semen quality, including sperm motility.
A (Relatively) Balanced Diet
We aren’t suggesting you need to seek perfection here, but a diet that focuses primarily on healthy whole foods with thoughtfully sourced proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables will go a long way toward boosting fertility and optimizing health. The demands of fatherhood are real and can be intense. Choosing nourishing foods will support healthy energy, mental clarity, and immunity - all key to thriving, not just surviving as a dad.
In addition, there are specific foods to eat (and avoid) that have been tied to improved (or compromised) sperm health. Many of these foods are beneficial due to high antioxidant content, so focusing on antioxidant-rich foods in the diet will help support sperm health.
A Low-Tox Lifestyle
You might not think you’re exposed to many toxins, but the reality is, they’re pretty tough to avoid. Toxins surround us in the form of air pollutants, chemicals in the products we put on our bodies and that are used to clean our homes, substances used to make food containers and water bottles, and so much more. Toxins are so ubiquitous in our lives that if you aren’t aware of the sources of toxins in your life, your exposure is probably much higher than you think.
So what’s the problem with toxins? Unfortunately, quite a bit when it comes to health and fertility. Exposure to pollutants has been associated with increased sperm DNA fragmentation, chromosomal abnormalities, impaired spermatogenesis, abnormal sperm morphology and decreased sperm motility.
In addition, endocrine disrupting chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA), Bisphenol S (BPS), phthalates, Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), synthetic fragrances, and more have been linked to obesity, hormone-sensitive cancers, metabolic issues, adrenal dysfunction, decreased sexual function, impaired fertility, and lower testosterone.
For more on the implications of toxins and a comprehensive look at available research, we recommend the work of Dr. Shanna Swan, a leading environmental and reproductive epidemiologist and a professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Dr. Swan examines the impact of environmental exposures on men’s and women’s reproductive health and the neurodevelopment of children.
For useful information on how to limit exposure to toxic chemicals in cleaning products, water, personal care products, food, and more, we recommend the Environmental Working Group consumer guides and searchable product databases.
How We Support Men’s Health
Men’s fertility is often overlooked when it comes to the preconception stage, and the health status of men is often undervalued when it comes to how a man’s health influences his baby's health. Furthermore, once men are past the point of conceiving children, their health often takes a back seat to the demands of work and dad life (after all, #dadbod has become almost a badge of honor). That’s why we are so excited to be bringing light to the importance of men’s health as part of the perinatal paradigm with education and products to support optimal health.
Our Men’s Multi, Men’s Omega-3+ capsules and Pre/Probiotic+ are available both individually, or bundled (with savings!) as part of our Men’s Complete Plan. Together, they provide key nutrients and antioxidants, plus Omega-3 fatty acids and targeted Pre/Probiotic strains needed to support optimal fertility, sperm health, and overall health.
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- Ding, et al. Impairment of spermatogenesis and sperm motility by the high-fat diet-induced dysbiosis of gut microbes. BMJ. 2020;69:1608–1619
- Tomaiuolo, et al. Microbiota and Human Reproduction: The Case of Male Infertility. High Throughput. 2020;9(2):10.
- Marzoratti, et al. Bacillus subtilis HU58 and Bacillus coagulans SC208 Probiotics Reduced the Effects of Antibiotic-Induced Gut Microbiome Dysbiosis in An M-SHIME® Model. Microorganisms 2020; 8:1028.
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- Bruggencate, et al. Dietary fructooligosaccharides affect intestinal barrier function in healthy men. J Nutr. 2006;136(1):70-4.
- Hunter, et al. Consumption of gold kiwifruit reduces severity and duration of selected upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and increases plasma vitamin C concentrations in healthy older adults. British Journal of Nutrition. 2012; 108: 1235-1245.
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- Tomaiuolo R, et al. Microbiota and Human Reproduction: The Case of Male Infertility. High Throughput. 2020;9(2):10.
- Fedder, et al. An Extract of Pomegranate Fruit and Galangal Rhizome Increases the Numbers of Motile Sperm: A Prospective, Randomised, Controlled, Double-Blinded Trial. PlOs One. 2014; 9(10):e108532-e108532
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- Pandit, et al. Clinical evaluation of purified Shilajit on testosterone levels in healthy volunteers. Andrologica; 2015. 1-6. DOI: 10.1111/and.12482