If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t spent much time thinking about sperm development. But when you are trying to conceive, sperm quality suddenly becomes worth understanding. And with even cursory research, the importance of key nutrients for healthy sperm becomes clear pretty quickly. At Beli, we’re all about empowering people with the kind of information that can really make a difference in your fertility journey, which is why we’re sharing everything worth knowing about how sperm develops – including why it matters.
- While men produce millions of sperm daily, it takes roughly three months for sperm to fully mature. And that means the choices you make today will impact the quality of your sperm during the maturation process.
- Specific vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can improve all parameters of sperm quality during this maturation process.
Nutrient shortages is a common cause of sperm deficiencies, and it’s a shortage that can be addressed.
Sperm: A Timeline
It’s generally known that most men produce millions of new sperm every day. What’s less understood, however, is that it takes these new sperm about three months to fully mature. And unless you paid really close attention in biology class, you might also be unaware that when sperm are initially formed in the testicles, they’re completely lacking in the ability to swim forward or even fertilize an egg. In short, they’re going through big changes to become fully functioning, and it presents a prime opportunity. This three-month timeframe is what’s known as the preconception window, and a lot can happen here that will directly affect the sperm’s health and capabilities.
The sperm regeneration cycle, AKA spermatogenesis, is the process of sperm production and maturation. And it’s endless, a cycle that’s constantly at work to produce sperm capable of the lengthy journey to conception. There are three phases in the sperm regeneration cycle:
- In phase one, diploid sperm cells divide into haploid spermatids, which carry genetic material.
- In phase two, hormones help spermatids mature in the testicles into spermatozoa. Sperm cells will remain in the testicles until they’re close to fully mature – at that point, they’ll have a head full of generic material and a tail.
- In phase three, mature sperm move into the epididymis, which is a storage tube that preserves sperm until ejaculation. While they’re here, they’ll also put that sperm to good use by becoming mobile.
The science is clear – specific nutrients during this timeframe are directly linked to better sperm quality and a reduced risk of low sperm count, concentration, motility, and sperm DNA fragmentation.
Remember, 50% of the genetic material for your baby-to-be comes from this sperm. If it’s not healthy enough to preserve that material or successfully reach and penetrate the egg, conception won’t occur or the fetus may not develop properly. Clearly, there’s a lot at stake.
The Role of Key Nutrients
Evidence shows that a common cause of sperm deficiencies are nutrient shortages. Just like women, men's bodies need different vitamins and minerals to drive their reproductive process – specifically, to produce healthy sperm. Every day is important in the life of sperm and ensuring a steady stream of the right nutrients is crucial to their healthy development.
So, what does healthy sperm development entail? Here are the indicators:
- Sperm count: An important aspect of semen quality is the number or concentration of sperm cells in a given amount of semen. Normal semen contains 40 million to 300 million sperm per milliliter. A low sperm count – ie oligospermia – is considered to be anything between 10 and 20 million sperm per milliliter, though 20 million sperm per milliliter may be adequate for pregnancy if the sperm are healthy. Any number of things can lead to low sperm count, including previous medical problems, age, and environmental factors. Your lifestyle plays a part too, so if you smoke or use recreational drugs, be clear that these habits can affect your fertility.
- Sperm morphology: Even if you have a normal sperm count, they still have to be healthy enough to make the three-part journey from your partner’s vagina to the cervix and uterus to the fallopian tubes. Normal sperm have egg-shaped heads and long tails. Sperm use these tails to “swim” to the egg. The more normal-shaped sperm you have, the easier it will be for them to reach your partner’s egg.
- Sperm motility: An essential function of healthy sperm cells is their ability to swim. Sperm motility is measured as the percentage of moving sperm cells in a sample of semen. Healthy sperm motility is defined as sperm with forward progressions of at least 25 micrometers per second. If a man has poor sperm mobility, it’s called asthenospermia or asthenozoospermia. There are different types of sperm motility issues, including slow or sluggish progressive motility, non-progressive motility, which is defined as anything less than 5 micrometers per second, and no mobility.
- Testosterone levels and hormonal balance: The precise balance of hormones in a man’s body determines the success of the male reproductive system. Male infertility can result if the body doesn’t produce enough testosterone or gonadotropins, which includes follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).
Filling the Nutritional Gap
When it comes to male fertility health, producing healthy sperm in the right amounts requires that the body have all the “raw materials” it needs. Bottom line – research has found that micronutrient intake affects male reproductive health, and specific nutrients, including vitamins D, C, E, and CoQ10, are important for sperm health. That’s why you’ll find them, along with other science-backed ingredients, in Beli Vitality for Men. Our formula optimizes the nutrients that have been clinically proven to support sperm in each stage of growth.