Lycopene Helps Fight Infertility in Men
Given that lycopene (a substance found in many red fruits and veggies such as tomatoes and watermelon) has been shown to lower risk of prostate cancer, it is not surprising that this substance also has an effect on other male reproductive issues. Combine lycopene with zinc and therapies designed to restore hormone levels and many cases of infertility may be resolved.
(article) Lycopene, an antioxidant found in watermelon, grapes, tomatoes and some shellfish, seems to treat infertility in men, studies conducted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi show. AIIMS researchers Dr. Rajeev Kumar and Dr. N. P. Gupta had 30 infertile male patients, ages 23 to 45, take 2 mg oral lycopene twice daily for 3 months. “Lycopene is one of the 650 carotenoids found in high concentrations in male testes and lower levels of lycopene are found in infertile males,” Dr. Gupta told Reuters Health. The duration of infertility in these men had ranged from 1.2 to 20 years, according to the researchers. In all cases, infertility was idiopathic. Twenty-seven patients had oligospermia, 26 had impaired sperm motility and 22 had abnormal sperm morphology. All three parameters were found in 14 patients, another 14 had two abnormal parameters and the remaining two patients had a single abnormality. After lycopene had been administered for 3 months, sperm concentration improved in 67% of the 30 patients. Maximum improvement was noted in patients with baseline sperm concentrations greater than 5 million/mL. Overall, 73% patients showed improved sperm motility and 63% showed improvement in sperm morphology. “We found that improvement in sperm concentration and motility was statistically significant,” Dr. Gupta said in the interview with Reuters Health. There were six pregnancies after the trial, he added. “Oral lycopene therapy does seem to have a positive role in the management of infertility of unknown causes,” Dr. Gupta concluded. “However, larger randomized controlled trials are essential before definitive therapeutic guidelines can be laid down.”