Can DHA and vitamin E supplements improve sperm quality in men experiencing infertility?

In a nutshell

This study examined if docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and vitamin E supplements improved sperm quality in men experiencing infertility. The results showed that when the two supplements were taken together, sperm movement and the numbers of sperm improved significantly.

Some background

Sperm quality is a common problem in men experiencing infertility. Sperm quality is determined by factors including sperm movement and shape, numbers of sperm, and volume of semen. Men with poor sperm quality have low levels of DHA. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that has many health benefits. It is also essential for brain development during pregnancy and childhood. Vitamin E is often given with DHA to boost the effects of the supplement. It is unclear if DHA and vitamin E (DE) supplements can improve sperm quality.

Methods & findings

164 men with poor sperm quality were divided into four groups. 41 men received DHA plus vitamin E (DE). 42 men received DHA plus a placebo (DP). 41 men received vitamin E plus a placebo (EP), and 40 men received two placebos (PP). Patients received the supplements for 12 weeks.

Sperm movement was significantly increased in men who received DE supplements. Sperm movement increased by 0.93% in the OE group, 0.05% in the DP group, 0.15% in the EP group, and 0.03% in the PP group.

Total sperm numbers were significantly increased by DE supplements compared to the other groups. Sperm numbers per mL of semen (sperm concentration) were significantly increased in men who received DE supplements. However, semen volume was not changed by supplements.

Methods & findings
The bottom line

The authors concluded that DHA and vitamin E supplements improved sperm numbers and movement.

The fine print

This study would benefit from examining the effects of supplements over a longer period of time. This study only examined sperm quality and did not directly show an improvement in fertility. Different quality supplements are available so results may vary.

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Published By: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Date: Nov 11, 2020
Original Title: Effects of coadministration of DHA and vitamin E on spermatogram, seminal oxidative stress, and sperm phospholipids in asthenozoospermic men: a randomized controlled trial.

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