Successful fertilization depends not only on your sperm count and quality but also on the quality of your seminal plasma. Even if you have hundreds of millions of healthy sperm, if they’re swimming in plasma that’s nutrient or antioxidant deficient, your sperm will eventually get weak, thereby lowering your chances of successful fertilization.
Seminal plasma is composed of several compounds and nutrients that nourish and support your spermatozoa as they swim towards your partner’s egg cell. Take a closer look at your seminal plasma content and find out how you can improve the quality of your seminal plasma.
When you ejaculate, what comes out of your penis isn’t just all sperm. Your semen is actually composed of your sperm cells and your seminal plasma. The seminal plasma is a viscous fluid that’s secreted by your sex accessory glands. Your seminal vesicles and prostate gland contribute to your seminal fluid.
The main purpose of your seminal plasma is to provide an environment that can help maintain the viability of your spermatozoa. This is why your seminal plasma is so rich in nutrients, proteins, and antioxidants which are all needed by your spermatozoa so that they can survive outside of your penis and inside your partner’s reproductive tract.
There are actually hundreds of proteins found in your seminal plasma. Along with these proteins, you’ll find various vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B12. Zinc, calcium, fructose, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and lactic acid are also found in your seminal plasma.
These proteins and nutrients serve several functions. Fructose and certain proteins in your seminal plasma serve as energy sources for your spermatozoa. Since your sperm cells need to swim quite a long distance toward the egg cell, they need the energy to do so. That’s why your seminal plasma needs to contain a lot of energy suppliers.
Vitamins C, E, and zinc are just some of the compounds found in the seminal plasma that provide antioxidant protection for your spermatozoa. As your sperm cells travel, they’re subjected to oxidative stress which can impair their structure and function. The antioxidant compounds in your seminal plasma help protect your spermatozoa from oxidative stress.
The seminal plasma also provides an alkaline buffer for your sperm since the vaginal environment is acidic. Your spermatozoa need a slightly basic environment with a pH ranging from 7.2 to 8. When your seminal plasma is acidic, your sperm functions may become impaired, meaning they can lose their motility or their ability to penetrate the egg cell.
The proteins in your seminal plasma perform various roles. For instance, certain proteins in the seminal fluid signal the female immune system so that it won’t reject your sperm. There are also proteins in the seminal fluid that help support your sperm’s motility and viability.
Seminal Plasma Proteins May Predict Successful IVF Outcomes
In a recent study, the researchers found three seminal plasma proteins that may predict whether IVF will be successful or not. The results indicate that in men with successful IVF outcomes, clusterin and epididymal secretory protein E1 are over-expressed while prostate-specific antigen is downregulated.
This means that men who have a strong presence of clusterin and epididymal secretory protein E1 and low levels of prostate-specific antigen in their seminal plasma are more likely to achieve IVF success.
Clusterin is necessary for sperm maturation, and this seminal plasma protein is also associated with apoptosis induced by oxidative stress, sperm lysis, and agglutination of abnormal spermatozoa.
Produced and secreted by your testis, seminal vesicle, and epididymis, clusterin is a glycoprotein that protects your sperm from DNA fragmentation and oxidative damage. Clusterin helps ensure sperm motility and survival. On the other hand, low levels of clusterin often result in low-quality sperm and low sperm motility or asthenospermia.
Epididymal secretory protein E1 comprises a significant portion of the seminal fluid secreted by your epididymis. It helps transport and regulate cholesterol. Reduced levels of this important protein are associated with azoospermia and oligoasthenospermia, with both conditions contributing to male infertility.
PSA or prostate-specific antigen is mostly produced by the epithelial cells in your prostate. This is the same protein which, in high concentrations, is associated with enlarged prostate and prostate cancer.
Men with low sperm counts often have high PSA levels. In addition, when your PSA level is high, it results in increased levels of reactive oxygen species which causes oxidative stress.
The results of the study show that men with unsuccessful IVF outcomes typically have high PSA levels. The researchers hypothesized that high PSA levels may have induced an increase in oxidative stress which, in turn, caused damage to the motility and viability of spermatozoa.
Improving the Quality of Your Seminal Plasma
Since it’s very important to keep an antioxidant and nutrient-rich environment for your spermatozoa, one way that you can improve your seminal plasma quality is by increasing your seminal antioxidant levels.
Your spermatozoa are easily damaged by reactive oxygen species, so ensuring that you have an excellent antioxidant defense can help protect your sperm health and quality. To increase your sperm antioxidant levels, you’ll need sufficient amounts of zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Zinc levels in the seminal plasma have been repeatedly shown to be much lower in men who are infertile as compared to the seminal plasma zinc levels of fertile men. When you take zinc supplements, it can help increase your sperm motility, semen volume, and the percentage of sperm with normal morphology.
Supplementation with vitamins C and E can also help improve your sperm viability by protecting your sperm from DNA fragmentation. These vitamins can also help protect the structural integrity of your sperm cells, as well as increase your sperm motility.
Antioxidants from other sources like Tribulus terrestris or maca may also help improve your seminal plasma quality. You can find both herbs in all-natural male enhancement supplements. One of the most potent male sex enhancement supplements, this contains several herbal ingredients that help improve male fertility.
It is best known for its effectiveness in improving male sexual performance. When you take it, you can expect to experience a significant increase in your libido, erectile function, and sexual stamina.