Selenium and Male Fertility

Selenium and Male Fertility

Infertility is a worldwide problem that has started to escalate in our modern world. Fertility issues are commonly considered to be predominantly a female issue; however, male infertility is a worrying concern these days. [1]

Considering that 15% of couples trying to have children are regarded as infertile and 25% of these cases are due to male infertility it is clear that this is nothing to take lightly. Male infertility may also be to blame for around 30%-40% of infertility cases. [2]

Despite the alarming increases in male fertility problems, the good news is that in many cases there may be a solution to the problem and with the rise in male infertility; it is no wonder that more people are becoming interested in finding natural ways to increase male fertility. [1][2]

Male infertility

Fertility is a term used to describe a person’s ability to reproduce naturally. A man is considered infertile if he has a poor (or no) chance of making a woman pregnant and sperm quality is usually the main causative factor.

Infertility is more than a medical problem; it can have a serious impact on social functioning and well-being.

Being a significant medical as well as social problem, infertility is a widely studied subject and recently it has been discovered that oxidative sperm cell damage plays a critical part in causing male infertility.

Another factor that may affect fertility is hormone function and especially that of the hormones needed for optimal reproductive functioning. [1]

How does the male reproductive system work?

The male reproductive system relies on hormones to function properly. The main hormones involved include follicle-stimulating hormone (or FSH), luteinizing hormone (or LH) and testosterone.

FSH and LH are produced by a gland at the base of the brain known as the pituitary. FSH is needed for the production of sperm (otherwise known as spermatogenesis) and LH stimulates testosterone production of which a mega dose is necessary for continuing the process of sperm production.

Testosterone is popularly known as the hormone responsible for the development of male characteristics like building muscles and its levels also play a crucial part in sex drive or libido. [3][4]

Studies have indicated that selenium supplementation could improve male fertility to help couples achieve a normal pregnancy. [1]

What is selenium?

Selenium is a trace element that is an essential nutrient needed by the body in small quantities. It is naturally found in various food sources like brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, butter, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, grains, garlic, raisins, organ meats (like liver and kidney), shellfish, fresh-water fish and salt-water fish.

Selenium deficiency is mainly caused by poor nutritional intake. Also; seeing as it can be found in many forms, of which some are water soluble, a lot of Selenium is lost through storage and cooking.

Although, no evidence exists that selenium deficiency causes illness it may, in fact, make the body more susceptible to illnesses caused by other nutritional deficiencies and infections.

Selenium is needed by our cells to synthesize selenoproteins. It is interesting to know that the expression of selenoproteins mediates the biological actions of selenium.

Research has shown that selenium levels may play a vital role in male fertility and it stands to argue that low selenium levels could possibly contribute to male infertility. [1][5]

Selenium and male fertility

Low selenium levels have been associated with the impairment of male fertility including spermatogenesis and libido and various studies have shown that optimal selenium levels could actually improve male fertility. [6]

Furthermore, oxidative sperm cell damage also plays a critical part in causing male infertility and selenium may prove to be helpful in this aspect.


Selenium needs to be present in adequate amounts for normal spermatogenesis to take place and it may play a fundamental role in sperm maturation.

A little-known fact is that human testicles contain high concentrations of important selenium-containing antioxidant enzymes and special receptors for important selenoproteins.

According to a scientific study, selenium is considered essential for normal spermatogenesis in mammals. The critical role that it plays is mainly mediated by PHGPx (phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase) and selenoprotein P which are both selenoproteins.

Laboratory evidence has proven that PHGPx is the main selenoprotein that is expressed by germ cells in the testis. It has multiple functions and clues us in on an important link between selenium, sperm quality and male fertility. [7]


Animal studies have shown that selenium supplementation can increase libido in male mammals. These results are very promising for future research. [8][9]

Male fertility

Research has reported that fertile men have significantly higher levels of selenium in their seminal fluid than infertile men with fertility problems. [10]

Selenium as an anti-oxidant

Another issue connected to infertility is oxidative damage in the sperm cells.

Due to their antioxidant activity, tremendous interest is evolving in the study of Selenium and its compounds. Around 25 selenoproteins have been identified in humans and they have been shown to have anti-oxidant actions that may help with infertility problems in men. [11][12]


Boost your fertility with Selenium!

Selenium is one of the trace minerals that our bodies need in a constant supply and it is especially needed for optimal male fertility.

Boost your fertility and increase your sperm count naturally with Selenium!

  1. Moslemi MK, Tavanbakhsh S. Selenium–vitamin E supplementation in infertile men: effects on semen parameters and pregnancy rate. International journal of general medicine. 2011;4:99.
  2. Sharlip ID, Jarow JP, Belker AM, et al. Best practice policies for male infertility. Fertil Steril. 2002;77(5):873–882.
  3. Jiménez-Reina L, Maartens PJ, Jimena-Medina I, Agarwal A, du Plessis SS. Overview of the Male Reproductive System. InExercise and Human Reproduction 2016 (pp. 1-17). Springer, New York, NY.
  4. Hamada A, Goyal D, Agarwal A. Hormonal Management of Male Infertility. Infertility: Diagnosis, Management and IVF.. 2012 May 18:57.
  5. Oguntibeju OO, Esterhuyse JS, Truter EJ. Selenium: its potential role in male infertility. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences. 2009 Apr 1;25(2):332-7.
  6. Ahsan U, Kamran Z, Raza I, Ahmad S, Babar W, Riaz MH, Iqbal Z. Role of selenium in male reproduction—A review. Animal reproduction science. 2014 Apr 1;146(1-2):55-62.
  7. Cheng CY, editor. Molecular mechanisms in spermatogenesis. Springer Science & Business Media; 2009 Oct 24.
  8. Marai IF, El-Darawany AH, Ismail E, Abdel-Hafez MA. Reproductive and physiological traits of Egyptian Suffolk rams as affected by selenium dietary supplementation and housing heat radiation effects during winter of the sub-tropical environment of Egypt. Archives Animal Breeding. 2009 Oct 10;52(4):402-9.
  9. Kołodziej AN, Jacyno EU. Effect of selenium and vitamin E supplementation on reproductive performance of young boars. Archives Animal Breeding. 2005 Oct 10;48(1):68-75.
  10. HURST R, Yongping BA, RIDLEY S, WILLIAMSON G. Phospholipid hydroperoxide cysteine peroxidase activity of human serum albumin. Biochemical Journal. 1999 Mar 15;338(3):723-8.
  11. Desai N, Sabanegh Jr E, Kim T, Agarwal A. Free radical theory of aging: implications in male infertility. Urology. 2010 Jan 1;75(1):14-9.
  12. Tinggi U. Selenium: its role as antioxidant in human health. Environmental health and preventive medicine. 2008 Mar;13(2):102.

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