Nutrient Supplementation

Improving Male Fertility Fourfold

Cesar Mora-Esteves, MD; David Shin, MD


Semin Reprod Med. 2013;31(4):293-300. 

In This Article


Carotenoids have been shown to work synergistically with Se and vitamin E. In a recent double-blind, randomized, controlled trial, the carotenoid compound, astaxanthin, at a dose of 16 mg/day for 3 months, resulted in an increased total pregnancy rate compared with placebo (54.5 vs. 10.5%) as well as an increase in pregnancy per cycle (23.1 vs. 3.6%).[71] Another carotenoid of interest is lycopene, which is naturally derived from fruits and vegetables. Lycopene has been found to have the highest ROS-quenching rate, with plasma levels higher than β carotene.[72] Lycopene is found in high concentrations in the testes and seminal plasma, with lower levels in infertile men. Investigators have evaluated the effect of oral lycopene therapy in men with infertility. A dose of 200 mg for 3 months twice a day resulted in a statistically significant improvement in sperm concentration of 66% in patients and motility in 53% of patients.[73] However, patients with very low baseline sperm concentration did not exhibit significant response to treatment. In those patients with higher baseline concentrations, significant improvement was seen resulting in 6 pregnancies in 26 patients. These findings suggest the need of clinical trials to further evaluate the potential benefits of lycopene therapy.