Infertility is becoming more common with one in six couples having problems. Worldwide 8-12% of couples are infertile. Sperm counts have dropped by 50% in 50 years. One of the reasons for this is thought to be oestrogen-like substances (gender-bender chemicals) in the environment. This is causing fish, sea-birds and even alligators to change sex. A major cause is oestrogen-like chemicals such as pesticides, plastics, industrial compounds like PCBs & dioxins and drugs, (especially synthetic oestrogens like the pill). We also know that nutrient levels in meat, fruit and vegetables are declining.

Nutritional Treatment

            Nutrients are important for two reasons: to replace deficient nutrients and because nutrients are needed to remove toxic substances.


Smoking reduces fertility, especially in females.

Alcohol reduces fertility, especially in males.

More than 5 cups of coffee reduces fertility by 50%.

95% of infertile couples are low in Zinc and 90% are low in Magnesium so it makes sense to take these supplements.

Low concentrations of Vitamin A and E have been linked to lack of ovulation in women and to low sperm counts in men.

In another study women who had been infertile for 6 months to three years and an increase in pregnancy rates after using supplements of zinc, selenium, vitamin E and iron.

A trial of the B vitamin PABA (100mg four times daily) in 1942 found that 12 out of 16 women who had been infertile for over 5 years became pregnant within 3-7 months. This was a small study and there have been no other studies since workers in the nutritional field have found this is helpful in up to 50% of cases.

            Fertility is often increased by stopping milk and cheese. Dr Patrick Kingsley recommended infertile couples to stop milk products and he found  this often produced results. Undiagnosed coeliac disease is another known cause of infertility:

Undiagnosed hypothyroidism can be a cause of infertility.

Consider a good quality multi-mineral, multi-vitamin supplement plus zinc and magnesium and Vitamin E (alpha d tocopherol not  alpha dl tocopherol). B Vitamins are also important.

            The commonest nutrient deficiency in the population is essential fatty acids and this can contribute to infertility. Make sure you have a good supply of these – (see separate leaflet).

One study has shown IVF was much more successful after supplementing Vitamin E. (Went from 10% to 29% success).

Stress can be a factor, including the stress of trying to get pregnant.  This may be one of the reasons why many women get pregnant while waiting for an infertility appointment. A weekend away may help here.


Vitamin C at 1 gram daily was shown to lead to conception in 20 out of 20 patients after 3 months in one study.

Vitamin E led to a large increase in sperm count with conception occurring in one third.

Selenium has been shown to increase sperm motility.

Arginine at 8 grams daily has been shown to improve sperm counts.

Carnitine can improve sperm counts and increase sperm motility. Carnitine is easily depleted by phthalates in the environment, such as plastics covering of foods.

Pycnogenol 200mg given for 90 days at the Wessex Center for Advanced Reproductive Endocrinology in New Jersey increased the number of structurally normal sperm by 99% although sperm counts were unchanged. Another study of couples unable to conceive due to poor sperm quality in men found 40% of couples went on to successful outcomes after taking pycnogenol for a year.

Sperm counts also increase on stopping alcohol.

Men who take regular hot baths have also been shown to have lower sperm counts.


Reduce meat and dairy products, which contain dioxins and hormones. Reduce coffee, alcohol, tea, refined sugars and flours. Increase fruit and vegetables – if possible organic (to reduce pesticides). A study by Boston University found one sweetened drink daily reduced fertility by 25%. Eat more nuts and seeds which are high in zinc, magnesium and essential fats. Filter drinking water with a filter that removes pesticides. Drink 6 glasses of water daily.  Do not heat food in plastic and keep plastic off any fatty foods. Use natural detergents. Eat organic linseed which helps hormone regulation. Add  broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower to the diet as these will block oestrogen-like substances. Avoid genetically modified soya. Reduce fried foods and hydrogenated fats.


Two or three decades ago nutritional treatment was often all that was needed. But nowadays people have a much greater toxic load and reducing this can be a key part of the solution.

This is a big topic. However it is fairly easy to reduce exposure. Avoid pesticide use in the garden or home. Eat organic where possible. Use a water filter.  Avoid chemicals generally such as air fresheners, aerosols and fragranced products. Products that have the names fluorinated, brominated or chlorinated are particularly suspect. Remove “smellies” from the house. Beware of processed foods and avoid microwaving food in plastic containers, Avoid stain, crease and water-resistant products which nearly always contain toxic chemicals. Use natural personal care products wherever possible. Avoid teflon and aluminium pans for cooking. Anything that increases sweating such as exercise and saunas will release toxicity. Consider juice fasts which also release toxicity and increase nutrition.

Using Vitamin C to bowel tolerance (see Vitamin C leaflet) also reduces toxicity.

            Also consider whether amalgam fillings could be the cause of your trouble. The book Infertility and Birth Defects: Is Mercury From Silver Dental fillings an Unsuspected Cause by Sam Ziff & Michael Ziff explores this subject.

            The book Stop the 21st Century Killing You by Dr Paula Baillie-Hamilton has a useful section on infertility plus advice on removing toxic chemicals from your body.

Stress can be a factor, including the stress of trying to get pregnant.  This may be one of the reasons why many women get pregnant while waiting for an infertility appointment. A weekend away may help here.      


                More recently electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation has become an important cause of infertility. This includes wifi, smart meters, DECT phones, mobile phones and their masts. For most people the biggest risk comes with mobile phones. The radiation from these has become more toxic as phones have become smarter and carry more information. High levels of male infertility have now been noted in several technologically advanced countries.

 Phones on standby emit continuous high speed irregular pulses which disrupt hormones and damage cellular function. A particular concern is men carrying phones in their trouser pockets. These radiate the testicles, promoting all stages of cancer development and damaging sperm. (In comparison there have been 38 cases of breast cancer recorded in women who keep mobile phones in their bras).

The key is not to keep phones in trouser pockets. If unavoidable then switch the wifi off the phone (through settings) so emissions are largely limited to the time of phoning. Protective cases are also available.

Another major source of microwaves is using a laptop on your lap (using on battery and in flight mode is safer).