Infertility, in both men and women, is definitely more common than most people think. A new study conducted by researchers of the University of Utah Health, which was published in the journal JAMA, showed that dietary supplements zinc and folic acid have failed to improve sperm counts and sperm potency in males.
Zinc and folic acid have long been touted as an effective treatment for male infertility.
“This is a landmark trial of male infertility supplements. The take-home message for men is that, for the first time, there is high-quality data that zinc and folic acid do not improve live birth outcomes or semen function,” said health urologist, James M Hotaling.
Zinc is an essential mineral for the development of sperm and folate, which is the natural form of folic acid and helps in the formation of DNA of sperm. This mineral is present in most of the fertility supplements that are also known as nutraceuticals.
For the study, the researchers recruited 2,370 couples planning to undergo infertility treatments.
For the analysis, men were randomly assigned to either receive a daily supplement or a placebo that consists of 30 milligrams of zinc and 5 milligrams of folic acid for a period of six months.
Women, on the other hand, were asked to complete questionnaires for up to 18 months after the beginning of the trial for tracking pregnancy outcomes.
Also read: Planning for pregnancy? Take these 7 steps to boost your partner’s fertility
The findings of the study suggest that there wasn’t any significant differences in live births between the men who received the supplement which was 404 and the placebo group which was 416.
Men in both the groups also had similar measures of sperm shape, sperm count and motility.
“This large, well-controlled, randomised study shows us that nutraceuticals like zinc and folic acid really don’t improve the chances of a couple getting pregnant and actually can cause side effects that are not beneficial,” said researcher C. Matthew Peterson.
“It’s important for men of all ages to eat a healthy diet to maintain fertility, but you don’t necessarily need to take something extra to help you achieve better sperm parameters,” Peterson added.
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