A recent study has suggested that sperm quality can be enhanced by a nutrient found in tomatoes called Lycopene.
The study found a boost in the quality of the sperm of test participants, who were healthy men and who were fed with the equivalent of two tablespoons of (concentrated) tomato puree every day as a supplement food, than those who did not follow such a regimen. About half of the instances wherein couples cannot conceive are blamed on male infertility.
However according to fertility experts, there is need for undertaking more such studies involving such men who have a known case of infertility.
Currently, most of the suggestions for men with fertility issues are suggested to adopt and follow a healthy lifestyle and to wear loose-fitting underwear. Experts also suggest that such individuals should also reduce stress in their lives as much as possible and make sure that they engage in regular sexual activities at about the time when their partners ovulate so that the chances of conception are increased to a maximum.
Despite such suggestions from doctors and infertility experts, it has been some time that the idea of certain nutrients possessing the ability to boost male fertility has been making the round.
A number of earlier researches in this area of male fertility have focused on Lycopene, such as vitamin E and zinc, which is considered to be an antioxidant which effectively reduces and prevents oxidation in cells, and hence prevents them from being damaged.
The nutrient has also been linked to other health benefits which include a possible reduction in heart disease and some forms of cancers.
The use of lactolycopene supplement was made by the Sheffield research team because the nutrient derived from common food could be difficult for the body to absorb, the researchers said, and hence the researchers using lactolycopene made them confident that the same amount of the nutrient was received by each man every day.
In order to get the equivalent dose of lycopene, the men who participated in the research would have needed to eat 2kg of cooked tomatoes each day.
“At the moment, there is very little advice we can give to men. We tell them to reduce alcohol consumption and eat a healthy diet – but these are very general messages,” said Dr Liz Williams, a specialist in human nutrition at the University of Sheffield and the leaders of the research team. The outcome of the research was published in the European Journal of Nutrition.
“This was a small study and we do need to repeat the work in bigger trials, but the results are very encouraging. The next step is to repeat the exercise in men with fertility problems and see if lycopene can increase sperm quality for those men and whether it helps couples conceive and avoid invasive fertility treatments,” she added.
“Optimising the health of the subfertile couple, both male and female can often avoid the need for invasive and expensive fertility treatment,” said Andrew Drakeley, clinical director at Liverpool Women’s Hospital’s Hewitt Fertility Centre.
(Adapted from BBC.com)