August 27, 2012

Micronutrients could improve sperm quality in older men

 Healthy intake of micronutrients such as vitamin C, E, folate and zinc could improve the sperm DNA quality significantly in older men, a new study has claimed.

The study led by scientists from the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, however, found that in younger men a higher intake of micronutrients did not improve the sperm DNA.

An analysis of 80 healthy male volunteers between 22 and 80 years of age, found that men older than 44 who consumed the most vitamin C had 20 per cent less sperm DNA damage compared to men older than 44 who consumed the least vitamin C. The same was true for vitamin E, zinc, and folate.

"It appears that consuming more micronutrients such as vitamin C, E, folate and zinc helps turn back the clock for older men. We found that men 44 and older who consumed at least the recommended dietary allowance of certain micronutrients had sperm with a similar amount of DNA damage as the sperm of younger men," said Andy Wyrobek of Berkeley Lab's Life Sciences Division.

"This means that men who are at increased risk of sperm DNA damage because of advancing age can do something about it. They can make sure they get enough vitamins and micronutrients in their diets or through supplements," added Wyrobek.

Although the scientists found a clear and strong link between higher vitamin intake and improved sperm DNA quality in older men, they don't know whether this link extends to male fertility and the health of offspring.

The report was published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.