(HealthDay News) — Antioxidants do not improve semen parameters or DNA integrity among men with male factor infertility, according to a study published online in Fertility and Sterility.

Anne Z. Steiner, MD, from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and colleagues evaluated whether antioxidants improve male fertility, as measured by semen parameters and DNA fragmentation at 3 months, and pregnancy resulting in live birth after up to 6 months of treatment among couples with male factor infertility. The analysis included 171 men seen at 9 US fertility centers from December 2015 to December 2018, who were randomly assigned to receive a daily antioxidant formulation (85 men) containing vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, L-carnitine, zinc, folic acid, and lycopene or placebo (86 men) for 3 to 6 months.

The researchers found that after 3 months of treatment, the change in sperm concentration differed between the antioxidant group (median −4.0 million/mL) and placebo group (+2.4 million/mL), but there were no statistically significant differences between the 2 groups for changes in sperm morphology, motility, or DNA fragmentation. Sperm concentration did not differ at 3 months between the 2 groups for the 66 oligospermic men at randomization. Sperm motility did not differ at 3 months for the 75 asthenospermic men. Further, DNA fragmentation did not differ at 3 months among the 44 men with high DNA fragmentation. Overall, cumulative live birth did not differ at 6 months between the antioxidant and placebo groups (15 and 24%, respectively).

“This study suggests that antioxidant treatment of the male partner does not improve in vivo pregnancy or live-birth rates,” the authors write.

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Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.


Steiner AZ, Hansen KR, Barnhart KT, et al. The effect of antioxidants on male factor infertility: the Males, Antioxidants, and Infertility (MOXI) randomized clinical trial. Fertility & Sterility. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2019.11.008