Selenium Helps To Keep Sperm Healthy

There was a very interesting article in the New York Times last week called Are your Sperm in Trouble? It’s all about the frightening effects of environmental chemicals on the health of sperm.

Commonly used chemicals that most of us are exposed to on a daily basis can have devastating effects on the structure and function of sperm. Most men these days have a high percentage of abnormally shaped sperm that have lost the ability to swim properly. This of course has a huge negative impact on a man’s fertility.

Sperm cells are exquisitely sensitive to the effects of environmental chemicals and dietary toxins.  Sperm take between 74 and 78 days to form and men are continually producing new sperm.  In fact a young and healthy man produces more than four million sperm per hour in each testicle.  Because sperm cells are growing and dividing so rapidly, they are very sensitive to harm caused by toxins.

Environmental chemicals are definitely a problem and it is wise to limit your exposure to them as much as possible. However, nutrient deficiencies are a big issue as well. Sperm cells need particular nutrients in order to develop and function correctly. Selenium is particularly important.

This mineral is the most important nutrient for male fertility.  Selenium protects the DNA inside cells from damage; therefore it protects the DNA inside sperm from fragmentation.  Research has shown that selenium improves the health of Leydig cells inside testes, which are the cells that manufacture testosterone.  This has the beneficial effect of improving sperm quality.   Selenium also helps to reduce the risk of miscarriage.  An optimal level of selenium supplementation is 200 micrograms per day.

(H J Chi et al. Reproduction 2008;23(5):1023-1028)
(Akinloye O et al. Biological Trace Element Research 2005;104:9-18)
(Scott R et al. Br J Urol 1998;82:76-80)