Vitamins and sperm count

Dear Robert,
We are currently undergoing ICSI for male factor infertility (low count, morphology and motility). In your experience, do vitamin/mineral supplements help to improve sperm counts? If so, which would you recommend? There’s so much conflicting information online that its hard to know what to take/not take, and whether any of it actually makes a difference! Your opinion would be really helpful! Thank so much for you time, B

Dear B,

I am unaware of any really good studies which clearly indicate vitamin supplements or minerals make any difference at all to the fertilising capacity of sperm samples in humans. There is no shortage of anecdote, no shortage of poorly evidenced information, but unless your husband is clearly deficient in a major vitamin or mineral, I doubt very much whether supplements of any kind will make a difference. Bear in mind that nearly all men and women having a reasonably healthy diet in the UK will be very unlikely indeed to have an intake deficiency of any vitamin. There was however, one rather well conducted randomised study, published in 2012, from California (UCLA) which suggests that 75g of fresh shelled whole walnuts a day improved sperm quality after 12 weeks in men with poor sperm counts (and who did not have a nut allergy). However, there are no data on resulting improvements on conception afterwards.

Best wishes,

Robert Winston