Antioxidants May Increase Fertility... in Men

Posted on by Paula Gallagher

A recent study showed that between 30% to 80% of male subfertility cases may be improved by oral supplementation with antioxidants. A supplement containing vitamin C and E, zinc, folic acid, lycopene, garlic oil and selenium is associated with a more than four-fold increased rate of pregnancy and live birth. They also found "mostly positive effects" on sperm concentration and motility. Although the conclusions were based on limited evidence, Marian Showell, the lead author of the research paper published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, says, "When trying to conceive as part of an assisted reproductive program, it may be advisable to encourage men to take oral antioxidant supplements to improve their partners' chances of becoming pregnant." This is important since about one third of infertility in couples is due to male factors. Although taking supplements seems to improve quality of sperm, it is also key to note that the quality of sperm, overall, has decreased over the years and may be attributed to smoking, obesity, and even agricultural chemicals.