Debunking 7 Everyday Myths About What Foods Boost Sperm Count

Debunking 7 Everyday Myths About What Foods Boost Sperm Count

Published on: Feb 16, 2022

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Medically Reviewed and Authored by:
Pari Saharkhiz, Doctor of Medicine, Canada, Ontario

Table of contents

Key Takeaways

  • Garlic contains allicin and selenium, improving blood circulation in sexual organs and enhancing sperm health, debunking the myth that it doesn't aid sperm count.
  • Dark chocolate, rich in L-arginine, boosts ejaculate volume and sperm count, thereby increasing semen volume and dispelling myths against its fertility benefits.
  • While drinking ample water ensures optimal semen production, it doesn't increase semen volume beyond the body's natural capacity.
  • Studies refute the myth that moderate caffeine intake from coffee affects fertility, but high consumption of cola and energy drinks might lower semen volume.
  • Contrary to popular belief, oysters don't directly increase seminal fluid; however, their zinc and omega-3 content support overall sperm health.
  • There are all sorts of myths, wives tales, and second-hand information surrounding what foods can increase a man’s fertility. Some are true, while others are false. When trying to get pregnant, couples test all sorts of foods and concoctions to conceive. Today, we will save you some time and debunk seven common myths about what foods increase sperm count and what ones do not.
    What Foods Increase Sperm Count And Improve Male Fertility?

    What foods increase sperm count, and which ones lower it?

    We get into all the details below:

    Myth 1: Does Garlic Improve Sperm Count?

    Many believe that it does. Due to the allicin and selenium found in garlic, it improves blood circulation in the sexual organs. 

    • Allicin helps to reduce sperm from getting damaged, resulting in more healthy sperm reaching an egg for fertilization. 
    • Selenium is an antioxidant that works to improve sperm motility.

    Garlic is known to have medical properties that help with all sorts of health conditions. Studies show garlic to reduce inflammation, cholesterol levels, and protect against chronic disease. Garlic is excellent for women with PCOS as inflammation has been named a key contributor of PCOS, independent of obesity.

    Myth 2: Does Dark Chocolate Improve Fertility?

    Dark chocolate will increase sperm count due to its rich amino acid L-arginine. L-arginine helps boost a man’s volume of ejaculate and improve their sperm count, motility, and strength. The human body can produce L-arginine, the amount produced dependent on age, physical health, and mental stress. You can find L-arginine in dark chocolate as well as nuts, seeds, and legumes. 

    L-arginine has a positive impact on male fertility in a few different ways, including:

    • Naturally stimulates the pituitary gland growth hormone promoting spermatogenesis.
    • It is a precursor for spermine, a polyamine involved in cellular metabolism, to boost sperm production
    • It is required for healthy cell development.
    • It activates protein production, which is essential for sperm construction.
    • Improves penile blood flow and healthier erections, improving chances of conception.

    If you’re ever at the grocery store wondering what foods increase sperm count and improve sperm health, hit the candy aisle! 

    Myth 3: Does Drinking Water Increase Sperm Count?

    Water and fluid intake is said to help boost a man’s semen volume within normal limits. If a man ensures he is drinking plenty of water, he is helping his body produce his personal max amount of semen.

    So this myth is half true, half false. Drinking plenty of water can ensure a man produces the peak amount of seminal fluid that his body was already capable of. This can also improve sperm motility which can improve chances of conception. However, drinking more water will not increase the amount of sperm in the seminal fluid. 

    Myth 4 - Can Caffeine Cause Low Sperm Count

    Caffeine has been said to affect a man’s semen quality and the sperm’s DNA integrity. This can affect the time it takes to conceive, and the number of chromosomes a sperm’s nucleus contains.

    This 2017 study observed 28 papers surrounding caffeine intake and the reproductive organs. It was concluded that caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and cocoa drinks did not affect the semen parameters. Contrarily, cola soft drinks containing caffeine did show a negative effect on semen volume, count, and concentration. It was also found that increased male caffeine intake might prolong conception, but this is not the case for all men.

    More research needs to be done around caffeine and its effect on male fertility. However, it is safe to assume that a cup of coffee each morning will not be the driving force behind male infertility. If you consume a large amount of caffeine from energy drinks or cola beverages, you might consider cutting back while trying to conceive. It is recommended to speak to your physician about your physical health and what could be affecting your fertility.


    Myth 5 - Does Monster Energy Lower Your Sperm Count?

    The same study from 2017 highlights energy drinks as one of the drinks of most concern, particularly with the increased intake by young males. Male energy drink intake was shown to be associated with reducing fecundability. This is the probability of conceiving within one menstrual cycle. 

    While the intake of caffeinated beverages can be associated with high testosterone levels, this does not mean increased fertility. The sperm quality is often reduced with high levels of caffeine and sugars. These sugary beverages can lead to male infertility by causing:

    • Higher impotence (lack of erections and orgasms)
    • Erectile dysfunction
    • Ejaculation problems
    • Decreased sperm quality 

    This 2015 study suggests there should be higher regulations surrounding energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster. This is due to their effect on the sperm head. Since a large majority of young men consume these drinks, it could affect their sperm quality in the long run.

    So, does Monster Energy lower your sperm count? We are going with, yes. It is not healthy for long-term consumption.


    Myth 6 - Do Oysters Increase Your Sperm Count?

    For thousands of years, couples have been using oysters as an aphrodisiac to improve libido. But do oysters improve sperm count?

    Oysters are packed full of zinc. Zinc is great for male fertility as low levels of zinc have adverse effects on testosterone levels and cause sperm quality issues. Zinc is also helpful for increasing dopamine levels, which improves sexual arousal and reduces erectile dysfunction

    Oysters are also full of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation and heart health. This can improve blood flow, which can naturally treat erectile dysfunction. There was a 2020 study that showed fish oil increasing semen volume and improving testicular function. 

    So, do oysters increase your sperm count? No. While more studies are needed, an increase in seminal fluid is not the same as increased sperm. But of course, this is helpful for sperm motility and the overall health of the sperm. So, all in all, oysters can’t hurt and make for a romantic date night.


    Myth 7 - Does Mountain Dew Lower Sperm Count

    Does Mountian Dew lower sperm count? This is a prevalent legend that has been passed around the internet for ages. But is there any scientific evidence to back it up?

    Claims that Mountain Dew is harmful to a man’s sperm count rest with the drinks caffeine levels and the yellow dye No. 5, Tartrazine. Caffeine being the culprit can be debunked as the caffeine level of 54mg per 12 oz can is less than a cup of coffee’s 217mg per 12oz. Tartrazine will also not affect a man’s sperm as it is very water-soluble and will run right through the kidneys and out through the urine.

    Similar to the caffeine myth above, this amount of caffeine will not affect a man’s fertility. However, the sugar in drinks like Mountain Dew, and all soft drinks, can lead to diabetes, low testosterone, and obesity. All of which will negatively affect fertility.



    1 - What are the Important Foods that Improve Fertility? By Nova IVF Fertility. Published date unknown.

    2 - Potential Health Benefit of Garlic Based on Human Intervention Studies: A Brief Overview. By Ansary, J., Forbes-Hernández, T. Y., Gil, E., Cianciosi, D., Zhang, J., Elexpuru-Zabaleta, M., Simal-Gandara, J., Giampieri, F., & Battino, M. Published July 2020.

    3 - Inflammation in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Underpinning of insulin resistance and ovarian dysfunction. By González F. Published March 2013.

    4 - Low Sperm Count is helped by L-Arginine. By Dr. Herdman. Published date unknown.

    5 - Increasing Semen Volume. By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MD., Reviewed by April Cashin-Garbutt, MA. Page updated January 2021.

    6&7 - Coffee and caffeine intake and male infertility: a systematic review. By Ricci, E., Viganò, P., Cipriani, S., Somigliana, E., Chiaffarino, F., Bulfoni, A., & Parazzini, F. Published June 2017.

    8 - Do Energy Drinks Make Guys Sterile? By J. Thornton. Updated December 2018.

    9 - Effects of Energy Drink on Sperm Morphology, Haematological Parametres and Behaviour of Adult Male Mice. By F. Olaleru1 and P. G. C. Odeigah. Published January 2015.

    10 - Modulation of Dopaminergic Pathways to Treat Erectile Dysfunction. By Simonsen U, Comerma-Steffensen S, Andersson KE. Published October 2016.

    11 - Associations of Fish Oil Supplement Use With Testicular Function in Young Men. By Jensen TK, Priskorn L, Holmboe SA, Nassan FL, Andersson AM, Dalgård C, Petersen JH, Chavarro JE, Jørgensen N. Published January 2020.

    12 - Myth busting the Mountain Dew Mystery. By D Giammarco. Published December 2015.

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