Antioxidants May Fill Infertility Gap

Infertility treatments sometimes include antioxidants

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Infertility issues, including erectile dysfunction (ED) are sometimes addressed by adding antioxidants to patients' diets. Is this 'get the lead out' approach effective?

Research from Oregon State University and Spain are targeting antioxidant addition to the diet as a possible remedy in infertility.

Tory Hagen, the Jamieson Chair of Healthspan Research in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University reports evidence is indicating that oxidative stress is an underlying factor for infertility. If this is so, Hagen and his colleagues are tasked with verifying this therapeutic treatment. An early nutritional intervention may also help other serious health problems.

"Ask your doctor if cleansing your body with antioxidants will improve fertility."

Some fertility clinics are already prescribing antioxidants to possibly help with fertility problems, but there isn't real scientific evidence yet to validate the effectiveness. 

Hagen advises trying commonly used antioxidants like vitamins C and E. Lipoic acid is also an interesting proposition because it sets up a chain reaction with more sustained impact. Hagen continues to explain that the jury is not in yet but infertility problems are growing. Addressing oxidative stress will have huge potential benefits.

Francesco Visioli, lead author of the study at the Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies in Spain reminds that infertility is multifactorial. The precise nature of the reported phenomenon is unknown.

These researchers highlight that infertility is often an indicator of other degenerative disease issues such as congestive heart failure, atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. The same treatments for infertility could also be of value to stave off other impending diseases.

The researchers hypothesize that an inadequate production of nitric oxide, an agent that relaxes and dilates blood vessels, may be the central issue. The reason for insufficiency can be caused by free radicals, that can be controlled by antioxidants. There are medical treatments already in place for ED that focus on increasing the amount of nitric oxide.

Additionally, as men age, when their production of nitric oxide can begin to slack off, can sometimes be accompanied with ED.

This research is published in the Online journal Pharmacological Research.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 29, 2011
Last Updated:
August 22, 2011