Omega-3 supplementation could improve semen quality


Infertility is a global public health issue, affecting 15% of couples of reproductive age. About a third of infertility problems are due to male infertility, and more than 90% of male infertility cases are due to low sperm counts, poor sperm quality, or both. Sperm abnormalities are a critical factor in male infertility. These abnormalities include: low sperm count (how many sperm are in each milliliter of semen?), poor sperm motility (what percent of them are swimming forward?), and morphology (what percent of them are normally shaped?). Cutoff values for normal vary somewhat, depending on the laboratory and the interpreter, but depending on the World Health Organization, “normal semen analysis” values of these three parameters are: sperm concentration, 15,000,000/ml or more; total motility, 40% or more; and morphology, 4% or more normal forms.

Certain nutrients and vitamins have been studied for their effects on male infertility and sperm health. Diets rich in processed meat, soy foods, potatoes, full-fat dairy and dairy products, coffee, alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets have been negatively associated with the quality of semen in some studies. On the contrary, the results of the studies indicate that healthy diets rich in some nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, some antioxidants, and some vitamins, and low in saturated and trans-fats are inversely associated with low semen quality. Fish and shellfish, poultry, cereals, vegetables and fruits, and low-fat dairy and skimmed milk have been positively associated with sperm quality. In this regard, it is to be noted a recent collaborative research whose outcomes showed that omega-3 supplementation, either alone or in combination with other micronutrients, significantly increases the sperm motility.

Given that sperm motility is one of the main factors related to male infertility, it may be concluded that supplementing infertile men with omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) could improve semen quality and therefore fecundability rates.


Hosseini B, Nourmohamadi M, Hajipour S, et al. The effect of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and/or DHA on male infertility: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Diet Suppl. 2018:1-12.

Salas-Huetos A, Bulló M, Salas-Salvadó J. Dietary patterns, foods and nutrients in male fertility parameters and fecundability: a systematic review of observational studies. Hum Reprod Update. 2017;23(4):371-89.

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Infertility in men [Internet]. EE.UU.: University of Maryland Medical Center [Última actualización: diciembre 2012].