Sperm are equally as impacted by reactive oxygen species (ROS) as eggs are. Our body needs a balance between ROS and antioxidants. If our diet is lacking in antioxidants, things like sperm motility, count and morphology are impacted. Too many ROS can also shut down the acrosomal reaction. This reaction is essential for fertilization of an egg. ROS may also cause DNA fragmentation or cell death.
Researchers looked at a combo formula of antioxidants in 94 men experiencing infertility due to low sperm count, poor morphology or poor motility, with or without varicocele diagnosis. The men were divided randomly into treatment or placebo groups. The study was double-blind, meaning neither the male or researchers knew which group they were in. The men did semen analysis before and after supplementation for 6 months.
Just for study FYI, varicocele is vein dilation in the scrotal sack. 15% of men have been diagnosed with this condition. 40% of men struggling with infertility have varicocele. It can greatly impact sperm concentration, motility and morphology as well as cause DNA fragmentation. Depending on the grade, surgery may be indicated.
In men without varicocele, sperm concentration, count, and motility all improved significantly.
In men with varicocele, sperm concentration, count, and motility all improved significantly.
Morphology and total semen volume did not improve in either group.
Men with diagnosed varicocele had worse parameters at baseline, but showed better improvement with supplementation vs men without varicocele.
Pregnancy was not a measured outcome, but in the group 12 couples did get pregnant during study time. Of these, 10 were in the supplement group.
The quality of this study was great to show the importance of antioxidant supplementation for sperm health. Something our fertility Naturopath’s do here at HHA is put together individualized supplement protocols for couples going through infertility.
If you are interested in learning more, click here to book a discovery call with one of our HHA fertility practitioners.