Men Taking Prenatal Vitamins: Effects and Tips
Men can take prenatal vitamins – but with the potentially harmful iron boosts they provide – it’s best to opt for vitamins strictly designed to support fertility instead.
If you are planning to become pregnant or if the fertility goddess has already blessed you, your doctor will likely recommend that you take prenatal vitamins.
These dietary supplements help the person carrying the baby have a healthy pregnancy and reduce the risk of complications such as miscarriage, birth defects and premature labor.
Prenatal vitamins are an essential part of pregnancy care. But what about peeps with cum? Given that approximately 50% of infertility problems stem from both female AND male issues, it is debatable whether prenatal vitamins might also have a place in male fertility management.
So should men take prenatal vitamins or are there better alternatives? We’ll take a look.
The short answer is “yes”, men box take prenatal vitamins, but that’s not necessarily a good idea.
Prenatal vitamins usually contain a mixture of the following:
- folic acid to help prevent birth defects
- iron to support placental development
- calcium for baby’s bones, muscles and teeth
- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to protect against pregnancy-related complications
- zinc to reduce premature births
- vitamin A to support eye development
Because these vitamins are designed specifically for the pregnant woman, they are rich in iron. Men need about 8 milligrams (mg) of iron per day, while pregnant women need 27 mg. Unnecessarily doubling iron intake can lead to overdose, serious health problems and even death. Eeek!
But aren’t good health and good nutrition important to both parents? Yes, it is essential as it affects the likelihood of conceiving, contributes to pregnancy outcomes and maternal and child health after birth.
It is also essential for the long term health of the baby. But, due to the balance of vitamins and minerals in prenatal supplements, it’s probably best for men to consider a formulation specific to their needs rather than ones designed for the person carrying the baby.
Taking prenatal vitamins is a prerequisite for the pregnant person, but experts do not recommend them specifically for men, and their role is not well studied. That said, certain vitamins can help increase sperm count and could increase your chances of parenting a child. Especially since men are less likely to seek help for infertility.
Remember, however, that any type of dietary supplement only makes up for nutrient deficiencies. If you are not deficient in a specific vitamin or mineral, taking a supplement will not provide any health benefit and may even be harmful. If in doubt, it’s best to speak with a medical professional and see if they recommend prenatal vitamins.
Traditional prenatal vitamins rely heavily on nutrients to help grow a healthy baby. In contrast, male prenatal vitamins and nutrients aim to improve fertility by improving sperm health and motility, i.e. swimming strength. However, you may well see overlapping ingredient lists.
Here is an overview of some of the vitamins you can find in male fertility supplements.
Early research from 2008 suggested that folic acid or folate could help reduce sperm abnormalities. But these effects are questionable because a 2020 study found no benefits for sperm quality or birth rates in men taking zinc and folic acid supplements.
If you want to add folic acid to your routine and you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding, limit your intake to no more than 400 micrograms (mcg) per day.
Zinc can increase sperm count and function because it helps swimmers fuse and enter an egg. Plus, it can boost testosterone production. So it makes sense that some research associates low levels with male infertility.
But according to the previous study from 2020, zinc supplementation may not prove beneficial.
Recommendations don’t exceed 40 mg of zinc per day, and exceeding that can cause nasty side effects like running errands.
Your brain, liver, and kidneys make the antioxidant l-carnitine from amino acids. And most people make enough for their needs, so there are no dietary recommendations for supplementation.
However, a 2012 review noted that l-carnitine may increase sperm quality and movement. Additionally, a recent 2020 study noted that l-carnitine increased sperm motility and overall health, but did not increase the chances of natural conception.
Vitamins C and E
Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants that appear in seminal fluid and protect sperm from free radical damage. Vitamin C is water soluble, while vitamin E is fat soluble. Men who have fertility issues may have lower levels of these vitamins in their semen.
A 2011 study suggested that taking vitamin E with selenium increased sperm motility. Again though, the results are mixed, as a 2016 review noted that although oxidative stress significantly affected male infertility, supplemental vitamin E and vitamin C did not always help.
The authors concluded that supplementation with a mixture of l-carnitine, selenium, and vitamins C and E may improve sperm motility and concentration health, but may not improve pregnancy outcomes.
The recommended intake of vitamin E is 15 mg per day. And whatever you do, don’t go over 180mg, as it can increase the risk of prostate cancer. For vitamin C, aim for 90 mg per day.
You need selenium for reproduction, DNA production, and to protect against free radicals and infections.
In a study of 690 infertile men, daily vitamin E and selenium supplements over 100 days improved sperm motility and overall sperm size, shape, and appearance in more than half of the participants.
Adults need about 55 mcg per day, pregnant women need 60 mcg per day, and that increases to 70 mcg per day if you are breastfeeding.
CoQ10 is a coenzyme that plays an essential role in DNA replication and repair. It acts as an antioxidant and neutralizes harmful free radicals.
CoQ10 supplementation may help improve sperm parameters in men with certain sperm problems. A 2019 research study showed that taking extra doses of CoQ10 can significantly increase sperm concentration and improve motility. Changes were greater in individuals receiving 400 mg per day compared to 200 mg.
Rather than taking prenatal vitamins designed for carriers, some people with penises may benefit from fertility-boosting supplements. But supplements only help people with abnormal sperm parameters or deficiencies. If you are healthy and have healthy sperm, supplements are unlikely to increase your chances of conception.
If a health professional suggests taking male fertility supplements, evidence points to the benefits of antioxidants, including L-carnitine, CoQ10, vitamin E, and vitamin C supplementation. Try to take the supplements for about 3 to 6 months before the expected conception time, because it takes about 3 months for the sperm to mature.
Besides taking vitamins, there are other things male partners can do to prepare for conception:
- screen for STDs and treat appropriately
- stop smoking
- reduce alcohol consumption
- maintain a moderate weight
- know your family medical history
- watch out for toxic substances like fertilizers, insect repellents and animal droppings
Prenatal vitamins are intended to support the health of developing babies and the person who wears them. These vitamins are part of preconception care and can reduce the risk of pregnancy complications.
Men can also take prenatal vitamins that focus on sperm health. Although there is some evidence that substances like L-carnitine, CoQ10, vitamin E and vitamin C can help in some circumstances, this is usually only the case if you have infertility or pregnancy issues. sperm.
For most peeps with penises, a healthy lifestyle and nutritious diet should provide everything needed for healthy sperm production.