With more than 15% of couples worldwide facing infertility issues, it's no wonder that fertility treatments are on the rise. Since every case of infertility is different, it's impossible to pinpoint the reason a couple faces infertility without consulting a doctor. However, infertility in men specifically is often linked to low levels of antioxidants in semen.
Here's how low levels of antioxidants affect semen health:
- Semen with low levels of antioxidants are at risk for contact with chemically reactive species containing oxygen
- Excessive amounts of oxygen can cause oxidative stress on cells throughout the body
- Oxidative stress in semen can affect sperm health and cause DNA fragmentation, leading to male infertility
How effective are antioxidant supplements in improving semen health?
Antioxidant supplements and their effects
Generally speaking, studies have shown that there are benefits to supplementation on sperm and semen health, but there are still gaps in what conclusions can be drawn due to inconsistent studies.
Several studies have shown that vitamins E and C improve sperm mobility and decrease sperm fragmentation in animals. These studies have not yet been replicated on humans. Some research suggests that the combination of vitamin E and selenium can increase sperm mobility, the amount of healthy sperm, and pregnancy rates. Studies with Coenzyme Q10, zinc, and I-carnitine (an amino acid) have also had positive effects. However, even with successful studies, there are an equal number of studies with no improvement in sperm health from the same supplements.
Menevit: A Potential Antioxidant Solution
A Glance into the Results of an Ongoing Supplement Study
Menevit, a supplement designed to promote sperm health contains a boatload of antioxidants: vitamins C and E, zinc, folic acid, and selenium. Currently there is one published study on the product.
Results show more than a doubled pregnancy rate in the trial group than in the control group. This sounds great--but don't let yourself be convinced quite yet.
The study also shows that the rates of egg fertilization or embryo quality are not increased, and that there is no sign of improvement of DNA fragmentation or sperm mobility. Since antioxidants are supposed to improve both of these aspects of sperm health, questions arise on how Menevit has increased pregnancy rates without improving DNA integrity or sperm mobility. More studies are necessary to draw conclusions and determine proper dosages for Menevit to be most beneficial to couples facing infertility.
So What Now?
There are still simple remedies to improving sperm health
Before testing out antioxidant supplements, the simplest--and sometimes most effective--way to improve sperm health starts with a healthy lifestyle. Eating whole, non-processed foods, refraining from drinking and smoking, and exercising can work wonders on improving both your physical and reproductive health. It's no surprise that a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby begin with a healthy you!
For the time being, more studies are being done to test supplements like Menevit that provide new hope to families looking to conceive. Focus on a healthier you and continue contacting your doctor to get on the right track to starting your family.