A majority of infertile couples act on the preconceived notion that they are unable to conceive because of the woman. But facts and figures say otherwise. As many as 30% of the total infertility cases are attributed to male factor infertility. Combined infertility is the culprit in almost an equal number of cases. With such statistics, it can be said that male infertility is as big an issue as female infertility. Therefore, these cases need an equal amount of attention as female issues do.
The quantity and quality of sperm play a key role in determining male fertility. Sperm issues are the main cause of main factor infertility. The key parameters in this regard are sperm count, motility and morphology. A man would be unable to conceive if sperms are not in adequate quantity and good quality. Even if he does, the likelihood of miscarriage or fathering a chromosomally abnormal child is high. Therefore, it becomes vital to devise ways to counter the problems related to the sperms. Something as simple as antioxidant therapy can be a viable solution for some cases. Let’s know more about it.
Sperm Quality and Oxidative Stress
Free radicals are the main factor responsible for damaging the cells (including sperms) within the human body. These are produced due to an imbalance between the antioxidants produced within the body and reactive oxygen species (ROS). These free radicals damage sperms by causing oxidative stress, which leads to male infertility. Such affected sperms are likely to have poor motility and/or DNA damage.
Oxidative stress is caused by a variety of causes, with age and poor lifestyle being the most prevalent ones. Over the years, a man is exposed to environmental toxins, tobacco and alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, psychological stress, pharmaceutical medications, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity. These factors take huge toll on his health by straining the natural antioxidant defenses of the body and causing oxidative stress. Antioxidant therapy is helpful for restoring the balance between naturally-produced antioxidants and ROS. Therefore, this therapy is regarded as a significant solution to restore male fertility by resolving the sperm issues.
Antioxidants and Male Fertility
Antioxidants are the protective substances which protect the body from oxidative stress, the damage caused by free radicals. They do so by bonding with the free radicals and converting them into stable molecules which are incapable of causing oxidative stress. The human body is naturally equipped to produce antioxidants but these may not be enough. This is the main reason that men fall prey to oxidative damage and the resultant infertility. Research has shown that low antioxidant level is linked with poor fertility. Therefore, boosting the antioxidant supply emerges as an effective way to prevent oxidative stress and restore sperm health.
Here are the antioxidants which have been proved effective for countering free radical induced damage to the sperms:
Coenzyme Q10 plays a significant role in improving the sperm motility, concentration and morphology. Salmon and organ meats are the natural sources of this antioxidant.
Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant which has a positive impact on sperm count and motility. Nuts, green vegetables, barley, and raw vegetable oils are food sources enriched with Vitamin E.
Vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to the sperm DNA and also improves sperm count and motility. Consumption of citrus fruits, red peppers, tomatoes, cranberries, cabbage and broccoli ensures a hefty supply of this vitamin.
Selenium is effective for boosting sperm motility and preventing DNA fragmentation. It also helps in dealing with problems related to sperm morphology. It is found naturally in organ meat, salmon, tuna and sardines.
Regular intake of all the food sources of these antioxidants is recommended for boosting male fertility and overall health. It is better to have fruits and vegetables in raw form because most of the antioxidants are destroyed on heating. However, these may not be enough and have to be supported by supplements. In addition to increasing the intake of antioxidants, the exposure to free radicals is to be reduced. This can be done by adopting a healthy lifestyle and protecting oneself against radiation and pollutants.
A patient suffering from male factor infertility will first be advised to take a sperm test. The test will be repeated again after three months of antioxidant therapy. An improved report indicates that the therapy is working and should be continued in the future. Some of the fortunate ones would be able to conceive during this time period and a repeat test may not be needed at all.
Gaudium IVF is a reputed IVF Clinic in Delhi, where patients are given comprehensive support and treatment for male as well as female infertility. Contact here for a free second opinion from Dr Manika Khanna, the best IVF doctor in Delhi.