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Antioxidants for Male Fertility
A lot of people are looking for natural ways to boost their fertility, but is there evidence that it works? Research indicates that antioxidant consumption has been an effective way for men to increase their fertility levels.
Oxidative stress—the body’s imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability to counteract their potentially-damaging effects—contributes to the defective production of sperm, which can lead to male-factor infertility. So antioxidants, which are believed to protect against free radical damage, can help aid sperm. But which antioxidants are best?
Carnitine is an antioxidant found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy. Research has shown that carnitine supplementation may improve sperm function, which can benefit men with infertility. In fact, a 2007 review in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that carnitine treatment can improve pregnancy rate and sperm motility, while decreasing atypical sperm cells.
Vitamin E is found in foods like nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils, though leafy greens and fortified cereals also contain the nutrient. It is thought to protect sperm cells from oxidative damage. When combined with selenium, its effects seem even more favorable. A 2011 study in the International Journal of General Medicine found that men with reduced sperm motility who supplemented with vitamin e and selenium saw improvements in total sperm motility and/or morphology, as well as an increase in spontaneous pregnancy with their partners.
Coenzyme Q-10 is a vitamin-like substance that seems to show antioxidant activity. Dietary sources include oily fish, like salmon and tuna, organ meats, and whole grains. A 2014 study in the journal Andrologia found that higher levels of coenzyme Q-10 were associated with normal sperm morphology, and that three-month supplementation can improve semen parameters and antioxidant enzymes activity.
If you are interested in boosting your fertility with antioxidants, we sure talk to your fertility doctor before beginning a program on your own. Your fertility doctor can advise you on the best way to begin and make sure your natural supplements are working in conjunction with your treatments.
Curious about how male fertility is tested? Watch as Dr. Ahmad Hammoud of Utah Center for Reproductive Medicine explains: