Does Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation Improve Male Fertility?
An estimated 48.5 million couples suffer from infertility worldwide, suggesting that 15% of couples are affected. With the proposition that 20-70% of fertility issues stem from the male, more and more focus has gone into examining possible remedies.
Poor or reduced sperm quality is one of the roots of male infertility. When assessing sperm quality, three key points are sperm concentration, morphology, and motility. Many micronutrient supplementation products on the market declare that they will improve the spermiogram (the test used to evaluate male fertility). A recent study has analyzed the impact of oral supplementation of vitamins and minerals to make evidence-based recommendations to men struggling with infertility. Within this meta-analysis were seven placebo-controlled, randomized blind studies, which included 644 men. The criterion evaluated were changes in concentration, morphology, and motility, as well as the difference in the pregnancy rate after supplementation, compared to placebos. Read the full study.
In conclusion, the current analysis shows significantly better results for the intake of selenium (alone or in combination with N-acetyl cysteine), a combination of zinc and folic acid, a combination of EPA and DHA, a combination of L-carnitine and LAC, and co-enzyme Q10. The level of evidence concerning supplementation with other promising micronutrients is insufficient. Further well-designed clinical studies are needed to identify the influence on male fertility of supplementation with vitamins and minerals.
However, it is not at all clear that this improves pregnancy outcome; it does not seem to indicate more couples get pregnant without other infertility treatment using these supplements!! Another issue is that the dose and duration of treatment is very nebulous…
So under the direction of a more comprehensive fertility treatment plan, the use of these supplements may be a useful adjunct. Still, alone it does not seem to show much help in altering the pregnancy potential.
We at MCRM do recommend these supplement combinations for many couples and build it into the treatment plan we use. Sperm selection in couples doing IVF is crucial and does improve the pregnancy rate. See website for statistics or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I can send you information!