Can supplements affect sperm quality?
A new review of research has found that taking certain supplements may help boost a man's sperm count and quality.
Carried out by researchers at the Human Nutrition Unit of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) and the Pere i Virgili Health Research Institute (IISPV), Spain, the Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico, and the University of Utah, USA, the new publication analysed the results of 28 nutritional studies involving 2,900 participants to look at the effect of nutrients, dietary supplements, or food on sperm quality.
The findings, published in the scientific journal Advances in Nutrition, showed that taking certain supplements may help boost both sperm quantity and quality.
Taking omega 3 and coenzyme Q10 supplements in either liquid or tablet form were found to have a beneficial effect on sperm count, while supplementing the diet with selenium, zinc, fatty acids, omega-3 and coenzyme-Q10 was associated with an increase in sperm concentration, which is the concentration of sperm in a man's ejaculate.
Supplementing the diet with selenium, zinc, omega-3, coenzyme-Q10 and carnitines appeared to improve sperm mobility, while selenium, fatty acids, omega-3, coenzyme-Q10 and carnitine supplements were linked with a positive effect on the morphology of sperm, which is their size and shape.
The new research is the most extensive and systematic review to date to look into the effects of different supplements on sperm quality, although it is still unknown whether supplements can help boost the chances of conceiving a child naturally or through assisted reproduction techniques, with the researchers adding that more studies are now needed to investigate further.
The World Health Organisation has now classed infertility as a global health problem while recent studies have linked a decrease in sperm quality to unhealthy lifestyle factors such as stress, consumption of drugs, tobacco and alcohol, and an unhealthy diet.