In 2019, Joni Hanson Davis was well on her to creating a new line of clean, quality, bioavailable vitamins optimized for every stage of pregnancy. It had become painfully clear during her own pregnancies that innovation in vitamins hadn’t kept pace with science, particularly when it came to fertility, reproductive health, and pregnancy health, and she was on a mission to change that.
And then something happened. Instead of focusing entirely on what a woman needs for a healthy conception, pregnancy, delivery, and baby—and instead of assuming, as many still do, that women should bear the medical and psychological burden of this entire process—Joni looked at the other half of the equation.
Can we be real for a minute? Women’s fertility issues make headlines regularly. Doctors and fertility specialists and dietitians and any number of experts are routinely advising women on what they can do to get their bodies ready for the greatest chance of pregnancy. Our lifestyle choices are picked apart and conversations revolve around biological clocks, fertility diets, fertility acupuncture, fertility-boosting yoga, fertility trackers, egg-freezing, medications, IVF—and the list goes on.
The Thing Is, Sperm Health Really Matters
One in eight couples will find conceiving a challenge, and almost always, women are first to get the side eye. And yet, science is telling us—clearly—that sperm health plays an enormous role in both creating and sustaining a healthy pregnancy.
If we can go back to high school health class for just a minute, you’ll recall that a woman is born with all the eggs she’ll ever have. But men produce sperm every day, with 1,500 new sperm cells “born” every second. The evolution from germline stem cell to sperm cell takes about 72 days. The evidence is clear that the most common cause of sperm deficiencies is a nutrient shortage. And just like a women needs a specific amount of key nutrients for optimal fertility, a man needs them to produce healthy sperm.
Sperm quality and quantity are among the leading causes of issues on the male side of the conception equation. And if we’re talking cold, hard facts, more than 40% of couples who cannot conceive are in that scenario because of problems with the man’s sperm. A study from 2012—2012!—found that just one in four men have optimal semen quality, and there’s zero evidence that lifestyle choices and healthy diets have dramatically improved in the years since. But pregnancy is a numbers game. It takes tens of millions of sperm to reach an egg for fertilization—and only one will make it. Science is all but screaming at us that poor lifestyle choices and crappy diets devoid of key nutrients can dramatically reduce sperm count, and even a small decline can have a huge impact on fertility.
So why aren’t men advised to take a prenatal vitamin if conception is the goal? Why not swap out the multivitamin for a scientifically-aligned vitamin designed to optimize sperm health? Why not lean on science to cherry-pick the nutrients that have been proven to increase male fertility four-fold?
Well, that’s exactly what Joni did. And that’s when Beli Vitality for Men was born. With key nutrients—think L-carnitine, vitamins C and E, N-acetylcysteine, zinc, coenzyme Q10, and Shilajit—Beli Vitality is specifically formulated to deliver the nutrition for stronger, healthier sperm.
Mainstreaming Men's Prenatals
Today, the idea of men’s prenatal vitamins is catching on. More companies are waking up to the fact that there are two sides to the pregnancy equation, and that covering all the bases means ensuring both parents-to-be are getting the nutrients they need for optimal fertility. And that’s a good thing. Women have borne the brunt of infertility issues for far too long. But fertility isn’t inherently a woman’s issue, and mainstreaming this idea of optimizing fertility for both partners is a game changer.
When it comes to conception and pregnancy, so much is out of our control. Managing nutrient intake is one of the few ways we can increase our chances, and doing with a scientifically-aligned prenatal vitamin for both partners shouldn’t be such a novel concept. At Beli, it isn’t. And we’re doing everything we can to make it common knowledge.