Did you know that December is the most popular month for baby-making? If you're among the hundreds of thousands of couples trying to make a baby this winter, remember that it takes TWO to tango! You're diligently taking all of your vitamins and eating a healthy diet - but what about him? There's a good chance that your partner is one of the millions of men who doesn't realize how much HIS vitamin levels contribute to a quicker pregnancy and healthy baby.
Although there are many vitamins and minerals that need to be kept in check (Vitamin B-12, C, and E), when giving preconception advice to men, one of my first thoughts always falls to zinc levels. Zinc is actually one of the most studied nutrients when it comes to fertility. Why? Probably because zinc is an essential component of genetic material. It’s so essential that it’s found in every cell of our bodies.
This means that a deficiency in zinc can cause chromosomal changes in either partner - which in turn causes reduced fertility and a greater risk of miscarriage. While a zinc deficiency alone will not make you or him infertile, you can see that it is a key player in the big game. For her, normal levels of zinc are important for hormone balance, menstrual regularity, and promoting proper cell division in the early stages of conception and fetal development. For him, zinc is utilized to make the outer layer and tail of the sperm. Without adequate amounts of zinc in his system, testosterone levels get out of whack and before you know it there are fewer and fewer healthy swimmers in the race. According to a study in Fertility and Sterility, men with fertility problems who were given a daily dose of 66 mg of zinc sulfate and 5 mg of folic acid for 6 months boosted their total sperm count by 74 percent!
Unfortunately the body does not store zinc well, so you must continually consume it. The best ways to get zinc naturally are to eat plenty of:
- beef, venison, and poultry
- whole grains
- whole fat dairy products
- seeds like sunflower and pumpkin
- molasses and maple syrup
For boosting fertility I’ve seen amounts anywhere from 25 mgs and up per day. Although long term use above 40 mgs has also been shown to cause deficiencies in other minerals (like copper), so if you plan on taking large doses, I’d talk to your doctor or get tested to see if you have a deficiency first. If you would like to try an at-home test for zinc deficiencies, you might try using something called Zinc Talley.
How to Test for Zinc Deficiency:
- Take about 1 tablespoon of the Zinc Talley liquid and swish in your mouth for 5 – 10 seconds.
If it has no flavor - like water - then you have a zinc deficiency. However, if you can taste the flavor than you are good to go. It's a great way to gauge your zinc levels.
Overwhelmed? Don't be. It's really very simple. If you are concerned he isn't getting what he needs from his diet, simply put him on a good once-a-day multi-vitamin. That should take care of not only his zinc, but his B-12s, C, E and Folic Acid as well.
Oh - and by the way, no one really knows why December seems to be THE month for conception. Some believe sperm may be healthier in cold weather ... but from 1973 through 1999, the largest number of births occurred in September - with Sept. 16th as the most popular birthday!
Sarah Clark empowers couples to discover how lifestyle and diet can dramatically impact their chances of conceiving. She was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure at 28 and had both her kids with donor eggs. Not until years later did she discover that the root cause of her infertility was a food intolerance. Ready to gaze into your baby's eyes....but struggling. Download 10 step Checklist here