Investigating the safety and effectiveness of myo-inositol to improve sperm motility

In a nutshell

This study investigated the effect of myo-inositol (MI) vaginal suppositories (VS) on sperm motility (SM; movement) in the vagina and fertility outcomes. They found that MI-VS improves SM.

Some background

Male infertility is a leading cause of infertility. MI is diagnosed by measuring sperm parameters. These include sperm concentration (SCC) and motility (SM). In many cases the cause of infertility is unclear. Oxidative stress (OS) is one possible cause. OS is called by free oxygen molecules or reactive oxygen species (ROS). These ROS can cause cell damage. If sperm DNA is damaged it can reduce their function. It can also kill sperm cells. 

Myo-inositol (MI) is a compound that reduces ROS. MI is also important in the production of sperm. Some studies suggest MI treatment could improve male fertility. There is also evidence that it could improve female fertility. The effect of MI vaginal supplements (VS) on neonatal development has not been investigated. It is unclear if MI-VS affects fertility outcomes and neonatal develpment. 

Methods & findings

This study included 86 couples with unexplained infertility. Couples were randomly assigned to treatment with MI-VS or placebo (inactive suppository). Treatment was administered by inserting the tablet into the vagina. This was 3 times during ovulation. Couples had intercourse the day after the last tablet administration. A vaginal smear test was performed 3-6 hours after intercourse. Neonatal development was assessed at regular ultrasound appointments.

MI treatment was associated with improved SM (54.42%) compared to the beginning of the study (46.48%) and to placebo (46.21%). MI also improved cervical mucus quality. 18.6% of MI-treated couples achieved a pregnancy. This compares to 6.97% of placebo couples. There was no evidence that MI affected neonatal development. Newborns were also assessed and no effects were observed. 

Methods & findings
The bottom line

The authors concluded that MI-VS improves SM and pregnancy rate in couples with infertility.

The fine print

The number of couples was relatively low. The long-term effect of MI-VS on development was not investigated. Larger studies are needed. 

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Published By: European review for medical and pharmacological sciences
Date: Nov 11, 2020
Original Title: Myo-inositol impact on sperm motility in vagina and evaluation of its effects on foetal development.

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