Honestly, my opinion about nutritional supplements has evolved dramatically. Historically, the value of prenatal vitamins for women is well recognized and uncontested. For example, calcium keeps mom’s bones healthy as developing fetuses borrow mom’s calcium for their own bones. And iron prevents the anemia of pregnancy. Folic acid clearly prevents neural disorders and birth defects in children. No doubt, prenatal vitamins for women make sense.
Do Vitamins Treat Cancer?
However, with heart disease or cancer, the story is quite different. In 1998, the government set out to test herbal and other alternative health remedies to find the ones that work for cancer and other diseases. After spending $2.5 billion, the disappointing answer was that none of them help prevent or treat these diseases. As noted here several years ago, vitamins got an “F” for cancer. To top this off, newer data from just last month suggests that excess vitamins supplements may actually lead to an earlier death. Now what’s a guy to do?
Do Vitamins Help Men Conceive?
Thankfully, what is more encouraging is the value of antioxidant supplements for male infertility. In 2011, An august research group in England published a Cochrane Review that analyzed 34 studies of 3876 infertile couples using assisted reproduction to conceive. The meta-analysis found that the partners of men taking antioxidant supplements were 4-fold more likely to get pregnant and 4-fold more likely to give birth than couples in which the male partner was not taking supplements.
The Idea of a Male Prenatal Vitamin
This study changed my worldview to the following:
- A large chunk of male infertility (maybe half) is due to what’s called “oxidative stress.”
- Antioxidants are a good defense against oxidative stress.
- The best antioxidants are found in the diet, and the Paleo diet appears to be the best.
- Most men have terrible, antioxidant-poor, diets
- If men ate more fruits and vegetables, maybe fertility would improve.
- Barring this, men should view antioxidant supplements as prenatal vitamins.
The Essential Beginning
Motivated by this epiphany, I and several trusted colleagues, including fertility physicians and nutritionists, set forth to create a male prenatal supplement that would be better than eating airport food for fertility. We wanted it to be made in California and support the local economy, be certified-organic, and to reflect the latest findings in antioxidant research. It would contain vitamins, minerals and organics with high bioavailability, instead of just putting stuff on a label without regard to whether or not it is absorbed well by the body, like most other supplements. We wanted it to be available online, to avoid the middleman markup, and to be reasonably priced.
After a year of pretty intense work, it has arrived. It is called XY (your chromosomes, get it?). And not only that, we continued our research and developed an entire fertility product line for women all the way from pre-conception through breast-feeding with XX (women’s prenatal), Z (pregnant prenatal) and Z+ (post-natal and breast feeding).
Do all men need a male prenatal? Probably not, because as I said, nothing replaces a healthy antioxidant diet. But if you are like most of us, creatures of habit eating airport food and busting our chops to put food on the table daily, it is to you that I dedicate Essential Beginnings, XY.