Refer a Friend and Earn Offers! - Beli Prenatals are HSA/FSA eligible!

Understanding The Hormones Behind Male Fertility

When it comes to hormones, the focus tends to be on the female variety. That makes sense, since hormonal balance has an impact on a woman’s cycle—something she deals with on a monthly basis. But for couples who are ready to become parents, understanding the hormones behind male fertility can be just as important. Here’s how hormones affect male fertility and what you can do to better understand your hormonal balance.

Key Takeaways

  • Hormones affect multiple systems in the body, including male fertility.

  • Three hormones in particular impact male fertility, including testosterone, FSH and LH.

  • These hormones can be influenced by external influences, including medications, stress, diet and injuries or trauma.

  • Experts recommend balanced nutrition, stress management, sufficient amounts of sleep, strength training and decreasing body fat to men looking to balance their hormones.

How Hormones Affect Male Fertility

Hormones are little chemical messengers in the body that play a role in various systems, from digestion and metabolism to mood, stress and, yes, reproduction. Hormones are also sensitive to external influences, which can throw them out of balance. Medications, chronic stress, injuries and trauma, and eating issues can have an impact on a man’s hormones, which play a direct role in things like sex drive, sexual functioning and sperm production. If specific hormones aren’t in balance and in the proper range, a successful conception can be tricky (if not downright impossible).


This hormone is the one most people associate with males, although it is produced (and required!) in both male and female bodies. In men, testosterone is used to create and grow male sex organs. During puberty, it’s the hormone responsible for the development of body hair, a deeper voice and muscle growth. It’s produced in specific cells located in the testicles and it’s required for specific parts of spermatogenesis, or the sperm maturation process, but Male Ferit’s not what actually stimulates this process (more on that in a minute). Interestingly, testosterone production begins dropping at a rate of around 1% per year once a man reaches his 30s. In addition to its essential role in sex drive and sperm production, testosterone also affects bone and  muscle mass and the way in which body fat is stored.

On average, a healthy adult male has testosterone levels between 270-1070 ng/dl. The average is around 670 ng/dl. Men who have low testosterone, which can be caused by lifestyle factors or related to age, have what’s known as hypogonadism. But while many people assume that a guy with low testosterone is infertile, that’s not true. While a man can have both low testosterone and still produce healthy sperm, there can be other hurdles to conception, like erectile dysfunction and low sex drive.

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) And Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

You may recognize these hormones if you’ve done any reading on female fertility. In men, FSH is also important for spermatogenesis, and it works closely with another hormone to produce sperm. Low FSH is associated with low sperm count and inferior sperm quality, so it’s kind of a big deal.

Meanwhile, LH triggers the production of the testosterone required for sperm production. Low levels of HL leads to a testosterone deficiency, which can affect both sex drive and male fertility. But high levels of LH or FSH are just as problematic and could be a sign of testicular damage or failure.

According to reproductive specialist Dr. Darren Bryk, a typical hormone panel for fertility issues includes free and total testosterone, FSH and LH, as well as:

  • sex hormone binding globulin (SHGB), which acts as a carrier for sex hormones

  • prolactin, which helps maintain reproductive health

  • estradiol, which plays a role in male sexual function

Signs of Imbalances in Male Fertility Hormones

It’s normal for hormone levels to fluctuate over time, particularly as we get older. Imbalances describe the production of too much or too little hormone. In the case of the male fertility hormones described above, these imbalances have a negative impact on reproductive function.

Symptoms may include:

  • Hair loss or thinning hair

  • Losing or gaining weight

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Low sex drive

  • Fatigue

  • Depression

Men who are experiencing these symptoms and having trouble conceiving may want to consider hormone testing and a sperm analysis. Results from these tests could indicate whether the issue is a hormonal imbalance, and whether it’s impairing sperm quality. Here at Beli, we make a big deal out of sperm quality—and for good reason. For men, fertility health really comes down to sperm health, which is measured in specific parameters:

  • Sperm quantity is the count and concentration of sperm in semen. A healthy male’s ejaculation has around 55 million sperm. Anything under 39 million qualifies as low sperm count.

  • Sperm morphology is a sperm’s shape and the size. Well-formed sperm have oval heads and long tails. But there are a lot of abnormal sperm out there, and these are the ones that are associated with lower fertility rates.

  • Sperm motility is how well sperm move, another key for a successful conception. If 40% of a man’s sperm are motile, he’s considered fertile.

How Can Men Balance Their Hormones?

Many of the modifiable habits that support healthier sperm may have a positive influence on male hormones, too. In fact, experts also recommend stress management, sufficient amounts of sleep, strength training and decreasing body fat for men looking to balance their hormones. Nutrition is also a big consideration. According to a comprehensive review published in 2023, which looked at the effects of environmental factors, lifestyle habits, and nutrients on reproductive health in men, “nutrients and lifestyle habits play significant roles in reproductive processes/conditions, particularly in male fertility” (1). Researchers also highlighted specific micronutrients for their roles in the sperm maturation process: “Sperm quality is regulated by various nutrients, including zinc, folate, selenium, and vitamins. Among these micronutrients, zinc plays multiple roles in the male reproductive system.” A men’s prenatal vitamin, like Beli Vitality for Men, can be a good way to ensure you’re getting these nutrients—and more.

Shilajit is one of the standout ingredients in our men’s prenatal vitamin. This naturally-occurring substance is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to increase testosterone. In fact, men experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, such as low libido, hair loss, chronic fatigue, loss of muscle mass and increased body fat may find that shilajit supplementation has an impressive effect. One study found that participants supplementing with shilajit experienced a significant testosterone boost after 90 days (2).

The Bottom Line

Between a high-quality men’s prenatal vitamin (we’ll go ahead and suggest our own Beli Vitality for Men, which is formulated to support sperm health with key micronutrients) and a healthy lifestyle, you’d be surprised by the positive influence you can have on sperm health and hormonal balance. Pair that with a hormone test to identify any abnormalities, and you can rest assured you’re covering your preconception bases for the best chances of a healthy conception, pregnancy and baby. Of course, we always defer to medical professionals, and we encourage you to speak with your doctor or fertility specialist if you’re concerned about male fertility hormones. There are a lot of hurdles on the road to parenthood, and your doctor is the best source of information for what may best support your chances.

Article Resources

1. Chao, et al. (2023). Comprehensive review of the positive and negative effects on various important regulators on male spermatogenesis and fertility.

2. Pandit S et al. (2015). Clinical evaluation of purified Shilajit on testosterone levels in healthy volunteers.

Additional Resources