RESEARCHERS have recently conducted the largest randomised, placebo-controlled trial to explore the effects of antioxidant treatment in male infertility, without the help of reproductive technology.
Research on the effects of antioxidant supplementation available for male infertility has previously been limited. Studies into the effects of these supplements on semen quality, rates of pregnancy, and live births are extremely useful to clinicians and these new findings have shown that antioxidant supplement consumption in men who are infertile does not improve their semen quality. The Males, Antioxidants, and Infertility Trial (MOXI) was carried out in couples in which the male partner had at least one abnormal marker in semen parameters of sperm concentration, mobility, shape, and DNA quality analysis, and a female partner who had normal fertility. The males were randomly assigned to receive supplementation of vitamins C, E and D, selenium, l-carnitine, zinc, folic acid, and lycopene, or placebo, for a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 6 months while trying to conceive naturally for the first 3 months. After 3 months, there were no significant differences in sperm concentration, mobility, shape, and DNA quality identified between the two study groups.
The authors also indicated that treatment with antioxidants may not impact live birth rates and there was seemingly no difference in this factor between the groups. The data was limited by the number of participants which allowed for statistical analysis of semen quality and not pregnancy or live birth rates; however, the authors were able to draw conclusions to suggest that antioxidant supplementation in men with male factor infertility does not enhance semen quality.