Supplements improve male infertility

Fertility problems affect about one in six couples and 30% of cases are linked to improper sperm production. For couples with this issue, two recent studies highlight the benefits of nutritional supplements.

At the University of Ancona in Italy, a pilot study examined the effects of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) on 22 men, aged 25 to 39, with idiopathic asthenozoospermia — the loss or reduction of sperm motility in semen. In this study, patients were given 200 mg of CoQ10 twice daily for six months. After treatment, CoQ10 and phosphatidylcholine levels (an important compound in cell membranes) significantly increased in both seminal fluid and sperm cells. Sperm motility also increased from 9% to 16%. The researchers concluded that CoQ10, as a result of its role in healthy cell formation and its antioxidant properties, could help improve male infertility.

Another study at the University Medical Centre Nijmegen in The Netherlands looked at the roles of folic acid and zinc in male fertility. This study involved 108 fertile and 103 subfertile men who received one of four treatments for 26 weeks: folic acid and placebo, zinc and placebo, zinc and folic acid, and two placebos. Researchers obtained blood and semen samples before and after supplementation.

The researchers found that subfertile men demonstrated a significant 74% increase in total normal sperm count. A similar trend was observed in fertile men. They conclude that “total normal sperm count increases after combined zinc and folic acid treatment in both subfertile and fertile men” and that the finding “opens avenues of future fertility research and treatment.”

Sources: Fertil Steril. 2004 Jan;81(1):93-8; Fertil Steril. 2002 Mar;77(3):491-8