The quality of men’s sperm is improved by taking extra antioxidants, research in New Zealand has suggested.
Nutrients like magnesium, zinc, vitamin E and L-carnitine can increase sperm cell quality, according to an analysis of 34 studies.
The discovery could help men who are struggling to impregnate their partner.
Researchers working with the Cochrane Library looked at experiments carried out on male subfertility involving around 2,800 couples. All participants in the experiments were given help to conceive, such as injecting sperm into the women’s egg.
Chemicals known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) are believed to damage cells, especially sperm cells. However, ROS damage can be undermined by taking antioxidants, the new review pointed out.
The researchers concluded that a female partner is more likely to become pregnant if the man is taking antioxidants, although more study is needed to pinpoint which type of antioxidants and in which doses.
Marian Showell, from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, said: “When trying to conceive as part of an assisted reproductive programme, it may be advisable to encourage men to take oral antioxidant supplements to improve their partner’s chances of becoming pregnant.”