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Nutrient - Antioxidants boost male fertility

By Holly taylor BSc(Hons) DipCNM MBANT NTCC

A new review, published in the journal Reproductive BioMedicine Online, reports that antioxidants may improve sperm quality and pregnancy rates.

In order to find out if antioxidant supplements can benefit fertility, the researchers conducted a systematic review of the literature. They found 17 randomised clinical trials involving antioxidant supplements in relation to sperm quality and pregnancy rates. Data was available for 1,665 men from 17 trials.

The results showed that in 14 of the 17 trials (82%), antioxidant therapy resulted in an improvement in either sperm quality or pregnancy rate. Sixty-three per cent of the studies showed significant improvements in sperm motility, compared with a placebo, while 33% of the trials showed an improvement in sperm concentration. Regarding pregnancy rates, the scientists reported that antioxidant supplementation was associated with a higher pregnancy rate of 19%, compared with only 3% in dummy pill or control groups.

“This review shows that oral antioxidant therapy was associated with a significant improvement in spontaneous and assisted conception pregnancy rates in six out of 10 randomised studies identified in the database search”, wrote the researchers. “This finding could possibly be explained, at least in part, by the antioxidant-related improvement in sperm motility and total motile sperm count, both of which have been reported to predict male fertility”, they added. 

Article References

Ross C et al. A systematic review of the effect of oral antioxidants on male infertility. Reproductive BioMedicine Online (2010) 20:711-723.

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