Antioxidants for Male Infertility: Yes or No?


As promised, each Thursday, we will now offer you a piece of educational, science, or research related information. The purpose of our #ThursdayThoughts post is to share with you fact-based content that can enlighten and assist you on your fertility journey. Enjoy our post! Helping to Create New Beginnings….

Antioxidants for Male Infertility: Yes or No

Male infertility can be difficult to treat. Currently, antioxidants are being marketed to treat male factor infertility. The hypothesis behind this is that oxidative stress can cause issues with the sperm.  Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to get rid of them using antioxidants. The oxidative stress can lead to issues with sperm motility, acrosome reactions and sperm-oocyte fusion.  It may also damage DNA inside the sperm.  Antioxidants decrease oxidative stress in semen. Therefore, it is thought that this may help with sperm motility as well as reducing DNA fragmentation.

A recent clinical trial looked at antioxidants and male infertility. (Anne Z. Steiner, MD, MPH, et al. Fertility and Sterility. Vol 113, No. 3, March 2020: pages 552-559). The MOXI trial evaluated whether or not antioxidants improved male infertility. Semen parameters, DNA fragmentation and pregnancy resulting in live birth were looked at in couples with male factor infertility after taking antioxidants for up to 6 months. The antioxidants included in the study were vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, L-carnitine, zinc, folic acid, and lycopene.

The study concluded that treatment of male factor infertility with antioxidants does not improve sperm motility or DNA fragmentation.  Due to limited sample size, there needs to be more studies done on live birth rates. However, this study did suggest that treating the male does not improve live birth rates.

For more information regarding infertility treatment options, please schedule an appointment with one of our physicians at the Fertility Institute of Hawaii 808-545-2800 or visit our website at


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