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Can micronutrient supplementation improve sperm quality in infertile men?

In a nutshell

This study investigated if micronutrient supplementation reduces sperm DNA damage (SDD) in men with infertility.

They found that micronutrients improved sperm quality by reducing SDD in these men. 

Some background

Male infertility (MI) affects about 50% of couples with fertility issues. Men with MI can have a number of problems. Poor sperm quality can be one cause. Sperm quality is influenced by a number of factors. One factor that can affect sperm quality is sperm DNA damage (SDD)Oxidative stress (OS) leads to SDD. OS is caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS can enter the cell and disrupt normal function. They can also interfere with DNA.

OS can be reduced using anti-oxidants. Antioxidants are naturally found in the body. However, if there is excessive OS, the body may not produce enough antioxidants to prevent SDD. Micronutrients are a source of antioxidants. Laboratory experiments show that micronutrients can reduce OS. This may also reduce SDD. It is unclear if micronutrient supplementation can improve fertility outcomes in couples with MI. 

Methods & findings

This study included 43 men with MI. Micronutrient supplementation treatment lasted 4 months. Sperm quality was assessed at the beginning and end of treatment. Couples underwent a follow-up of 3-10 months. SDD was assessed by measuring sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF). 

Micronutrient supplementation had no effect on sperm concentration or motility (movement). However, sperm morphology (shape) was significantly improved after micronutrient supplementation. SDF was also significantly improved after treatment. 10 couples (23.3%) became pregnant in the follow-up period. 

Methods & findings
The bottom line

The authors concluded that micronutrient supplementation improved sperm quality by reducing SDD in couples with MI.

The fine print

This study included a small number of men. The follow-up period was short, therefore the effect of micronutrient supplementation on pregnancy outcomes is still unclear. More studies are needed. 

What’s next?

If you have any concerns regarding infertility management, please consult with your physician.

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Published By: International journal of fertility & sterility
Date: Nov 11, 2020
Original Title: Micronutrients in Support to The Carbon Cycle Activate Antioxidant Defences and Reduce Sperm DNA Damage in Infertile Men Attending Assisted Reproductive Technology Programs: Clinical Trial Study.

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