It is common knowledge that diet and lifestyle have an impact on fertility. That is why, when you are looking into preconception checklists, you will certainly find a paragraph or two about cutting out alcohol and smoking, and eating healthy foods. But now, a team of scientists from New Zealand found that subfertile men, that is those with lower fertility who still have some healthy sperm, are more likely to become fathers if they consume plenty of antioxidants, such as Vitamin E and zinc. Around one in twenty men are considered to be subfertile.
Getting pregnant with low sperm count, for instance, is theoretically possible but certainly much more difficult. It is thought that environmental toxins play a large role in this and that is exactly why antioxidants might help improve fertility. The new study found that subfertile men who were diligent about taking antioxidants were up to four times as likely to get their partner pregnant than those who did not. The study's authors did not explicitly say that antioxidants actually increase male fertility, because more research is needed. But this sure looks promising.
The research team used data from 34 different earlier studies to reach their conclusions. These looked at 3,000 couples who were in the process of undergoing fertility treatments in various shapes and forms. In the end, the conclusion that men who used antioxidants were four times more likely to conceive was based on only 96 pregnancies however, and other scientists are already criticizing the study for being incomplete.
Marian Showell, the lead author of the study from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, told Reuters: "Oral supplementation with antioxidants may go some way to improve a couple's chance of conception." I wonder if that goes just for commercial supplements, or for herbs to increase fertility as well? There are many herbs that contain antioxidants, and if you or your partner is suffering from a low sperm count or other male fertility problems, this is something you might want to look into.