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Selenium and male fertility

If you’re concerned about your fertility, you’re definitely not alone. Fertility issues among men are increasingly common, with research published in 2017 suggesting sperm count among men has halved in the last 40 years.1

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The quality of sperm is usually to blame. Factors such as diet, smoking and excess body fat are major causes of reduced sperm quality, so these are the first places to start when aiming to boost your fertility.

However, the trace element selenium is strongly linked with male fertility, so it’s well worth taking a look at your intake of selenium if you and your partner are trying to become pregnant.

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Selenium is essential for sperm function. Selenium contributes to the morphology of sperm as well as its motility, which means selenium not only helps sperm cells grow to a good size and shape, but also helps them to swim, which are key factors in normal conception.

Selenium can also ensure your sperm doesn’t become damaged by free radicals within the body. Just like any of your body’s cells, sperm cells are susceptible to oxidative damage. Selenium is an antioxidant which can help protect sperm from this cellular damage.

There is a clear scientific link between having optimum levels of selenium and male fertility. One study from 2011 looked at the effects of selenium in combination with vitamin E on 690 infertile men, over 100 days. The results of the study showed a 52% improvement in sperm motility, size and shape. There was also a 10.8% rate of pregnancy among the partners of the men.2 In another recent study, male partners of infertile couples were found to have reduced levels of anti-oxidative activity and selenium in their sperm.3

Although a true deficiency is relatively rare, some people can have low levels, for instance vegans and vegetarians. The current recommended daily intake of selenium is 75µg a day for men and 60µg a day for women.

Dietary sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, fish, meat and eggs. In fact, one brazil nut contains 90ug, or 0.9mg which is more than 100% of the daily recommended intake.

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Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.
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Men's Sexual Health