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Does vitamin C reduce sperm DNA damage in male partners of couples with recurrent pregnancy loss?

In a nutshell

This study investigated if vitamin C prevents sperm DNA damage (SDD) in men of couples with recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL). They found that SDD and sperm quality were improved after vitamin C treatment. 

Some background

Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) affects many couples. The cause of RPL is often unclear. Some studies suggest that a women’s immune system can attack a growing fetus. Other studies suggest the fetus could have genetic abnormalities. Male fertility could also have an effect on RPL. Sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF) is damage caused to the DNA of sperm. This can significantly affect sperm quality. This includes sperm morphology (SMP; shape) or sperm concentration (SCC).

Recent evidence suggests a link between SDF and RPL. SDF could be caused by a number of triggers. Chromatin damage can lead to SDF. Vitamin C is one chemical that may improve SDF. It has anti-oxidant properties. It is unclear if vitamin C affects sperm quality in men of couples with RPL.

Methods & findings

This study included 40 men. 20 men were from couples with RPL. The other 20 men were healthy and served as a control group. The RPL group received 250 mg vitamin C daily for 3 months. Sperm parameters were analyzed at the beginning and end of the study. Pregnancy outcomes were also measured in couples after vitamin C treatment. 

SCC and SMP were lower in the vitamin C group compared to control. However, SCC was significantly improved after vitamin C treatment. SMP was also significantly improved after vitamin C treatment. No statistically different effects were observed in pregnancy outcomes. 

Methods & findings
The bottom line

The authors concluded that SDD and SQ were improved after vitamin C treatment in men from couples with RPL.

The fine print

The number of patients was low. Also, the follow-up period was too short to analyze properly any pregnancy outcomes. Larger randomized studies are needed. 

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Published By: Clinical and experimental reproductive medicine
Date: Nov 11, 2020
Original Title: The effect of vitamin C on the gene expression profile of sperm protamines in the male partners of couples with recurrent pregnancy loss: A randomized clinical trial.

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