Nutrition Articles

Nutrition and Fertility: An Overview for Men

10 Key Nutrients that Affect a Man's Fertility

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Selenium
Consuming too much or too little of this trace mineral can harm sperm levels. Men should get 55 mcg daily. Where to get it: Selenium is found in Brazil nuts (544 mcg in 1 ounce), Tuna (63 mcg in 3 ounces), beef (35 mcg in 3 1/2 ounces), turkey (32 mcg in 3 1/2 ounces) and enriched breads and cereals (4-15 mcg per serving).

Soy foods
Preliminary research at Harvard University has shown that eating more than one serving of soy foods (such as tofu, tempeh, soy milk or soy-based meat analogs) a day or more can reduce male fertility, especially in obese men. The researchers aren't sure why the two are linked, but soy can increase estrogen activity and interfere with male hormones. While researchers said that the findings were not substantial enough to cut out soy foods completely, they did suggest that men who were trying to conceive could limit their intake of soy foods. Where to cut back: Soy is found in lots of processed foods these days, including protein bars, protein powders, and even "diet" snack foods. Tofu, edamame, and soy beverages are also high in soy.

Zinc
Some research has found that a lack of zinc can reduce sperm count and affect testosterone levels. Vegetarian men need to be sure to get enough of this key nutrient, but meat eaters usually don't need to worry about it, since meat is  high in zinc. which is found in beans, yogurt and nuts.   Where to get it: Beans, yogurt and nuts are high in zinc. Learn more about adequate zinc intake.

Future dads need to follow the same advice as their female counterparts: Eat right, exercise regularly, and take care of themselves!

Becky Hand, a licensed and registered dietitian, reviewed, approved and contributed to this article.
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About The Author

Stepfanie Romine Stepfanie Romine
A former newspaper reporter, Stepfanie now writes about nutrition, health, fitness and cooking. She is a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher who enjoys running, international travel and all kinds of vegetables. See all of Stepfanie's articles.

Member Comments

  • I have to admit, the reason I hit the link is because of that eye candy at the top. Sorry for objectifying you bro'. Anyway please, more male models. - 5/8/2013 12:13:41 AM
  • Respectfully suggest this article be reedited for accuracy and clarity. The soy section needs correcting, and the zinc section is somewhat redundant. - 10/6/2011 6:27:15 AM
  • Yes, the soy comment is misleading as it is written and does not make any sense. Eating soy can cause problems for men.
    Interesting to see an article linked to male nutrition and fertility - a nice change. - 7/19/2011 12:14:28 AM
  • I would interpret that sentence as meaning one does not have to eat even one serving of soy for the harmful effects.
    Really makes one wonder if we should be drinking soy milk and using other soy products. Three of our grandchildren drink nothing but soy milk and those of us who are lactose intolerant depend on these other milks. Right now I have both almond and soy milk in fridge. - 5/5/2011 5:44:50 PM
  • PSALM22
    Agree with Mary Jean - the sentence as written does not make sense.

    Also, isn't it time to take another look at the article that pushes how good soy is? - 5/2/2010 4:23:46 PM
  • Bad mistake in the article - "eating less than one serving of soy foods" - this quote should actually say "eating MORE than one serving of soy..." - 12/13/2009 3:46:35 PM
  • LADYDRIVEN
    Hhmm, i'm gonna let my hubby have a look at this! Cant have too many healthy sperm now can we? - 6/6/2008 2:16:45 PM

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