Men’s Reproductive Health
I have always found it interesting that when you search men’s health online, you will find information on sexual potency first and foremost- long before other health concerns such as prostate, cardiovascular, stress, fertility, etc. Of course, virility is an important part of life, but it is certainly not the only health concern men face. And keep in mind that overall wellness directly affects sexual performance and fertility.
In addition to a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress management practices, there are several areas of health - including heart and prostate health - that men need to support, especially as they age. But for today, our focus will be on sexual health and how herbs and supplements can be supportive.
Men’s participation in the reproductive process is obviously vitally important. This includes everything from sexual desire (libido) to sperm health. When couples are in the preconception phase or struggling with fertility many times the women’s reproductive health is focused on and the man’s is not considered until much later, if at all. This is unfortunate because sperm quality (motility, count, etc) directly affects the health of the fetus, and sperm quality is directly related to one’s overall health status. With this in mind, it is very important to address whatever health challenges a man may have, in order to facilitate and support his fertility.
Botanicals that are Supportive of Health and Fertility in Men
Ashwagandha has become hugely popular in recent years in our Western culture. And for good reason! It is an Ayurvedic adaptogenic herb which will nourish and restore optimal nervous and immune system health by normalizing mood 1, energy levels, hormones and overall immune function. It is both a tonic, meaning it supports the body's overall wellbeing, and an adaptogen, meaning it supports the body's natural resistance. This goes a long way in assisting the body in handling stressors which can lead to many physical challenges including fertility issues. Adaptogens of all kinds are beneficial in this way and very important in mitigating challenges.
Hawthorn is a fantastic cardiovascular tonic. The blossoms and berries of this plant tone the cardiac muscle and the arterial tissue. In addition, this herb has traditionally been used to support the emotional aspects of the heart, including grief. This can be taken on a regular basis and has many, many benefits, including aid in blood flow and circulation. 2
Saw Palmetto’s benefits are far-reaching. Saw Palmetto has long been known for its capacity to modulate testosterone as well as mitigate inflammation and improve sperm count and motility. 3,4
And last but obviously not least, is the support of libido. Libido cannot be supported naturally unless the whole body is supported. So although the following herbs are labeled as libido supportive, it means that they address the overall health of the man and his entire vitality. There are many herbs that assist in this. For instance, Maca, is well known for its support of overall sexual vitality.5 Another supportive botanical is Epimedium (aka “horny goat weed”) which has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to support normal circulation to the extremities and tonify kidney yang energy, a driving force for libido. Finally, there is the herb Tribulus which is well known for supporting healthy testosterone levels.6 You will find these herbs, plus many others in Libido-M for synergistically supporting male health, fertility, and libido.
Supplements that are Supportive of Health and Fertility in Men
It is important to also mention nutritional components when addressing the topic of male fertility.
CoQ10 works by combating oxidation and protecting sperm from damage. CoQ10 also helps increase sperm concentration.7
Observational studies show that low Zinc status or deficiency is associated with low testosterone levels, poor sperm quality, and an increased risk of male infertility.8 Also, taking zinc supplements increases testosterone levels and sperm count in those who are low in zinc.
Vitamin D3 status has been linked with sexual function, testosterone levels, and fertility.9 Serum Vitamin D levels can easily be measured by your doctor and is often covered by insurance. Ideal levels of 25(OH)D should be at least 40ng/mL.
As always, we are here to support you as an individual. You can come in and speak with one of us on the floor, or if you need more personalized support, you can set up an appointment. We look forward to seeing you!!
- Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022. PMID: 23439798; PMCID: PMC3573577.
- Chen ZY, Zhang ZS, Kwan KY, Zhu M, Ho WK, Huang Y. Endothelium-dependent relaxation induced by hawthorn extract in rat mesenteric artery. Life Sci. 1998;63(22):1983-91. doi: 10.1016/s0024-3205(98)00476-7. PMID: 9839542.
- Fagelman E, Lowe FC. Saw Palmetto Berry as a Treatment for BPH. Rev Urol. 2001;3(3):134-138.
- Gerber GS, Kuznetsov D, Johnson BC, Burstein JD. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of saw palmetto in men with lower urinary tract symptoms. Urology. 2001 Dec;58(6):960-4; discussion 964-5. doi: 10.1016/s0090-4295(01)01442-x. PMID: 11744467.
- Gonzales GF, Córdova A, Vega K, Chung A, Villena A, Góñez C, Castillo S. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Andrologia. 2002 Dec;34(6):367-72. doi: 10.1046/j.1439-0272.2002.00519.x. PMID: 12472620.
- K. Gauthaman, A. P. Ganesan, and R. N. V. Prasad, “Sexual effects of puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris) extract (protodioscin): an evaluation using a rat model,” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 257–265, 2003.
- Alahmar AT. The impact of two doses of coenzyme Q10 on semen parameters and antioxidant status in men with idiopathic oligoasthenoteratozoospermia. Clin Exp Reprod Med. 2019;46(3):112-118. doi:10.5653/cerm.2019.001362/
- Fallah A, Mohammad-Hasani A, Colagar AH. Zinc is an Essential Element for Male Fertility: A Review of Zn Roles in Men's Health, Germination, Sperm Quality, and Fertilization. J Reprod Infertil. 2018;19(2):69-81.
- Blomberg Jensen M, Lawaetz JG, Petersen JH, Juul A, Jørgensen N. Effects of Vitamin D Supplementation on Semen Quality, Reproductive Hormones, and Live Birth Rate: A Randomized Clinical Trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Mar 1;103(3):870-881. doi: 10.1210/jc.2017-01656. PMID: 29126319.