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Dietary supplements containing zinc and folic acid marketed as a treatment for male infertility does not improve pregnancy rates, sperm counts or sperm function

Jan 07, 2020: According to a study conducted by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD),Dietary supplements containing zinc and folic acid — marketed as a treatment for male infertility — do not appear to improve pregnancy rates, sperm counts or sperm function.

Zinc is an essential mineral for the sperm formation, and folate, natural form of folic acid, depends on zinc to help form DNA in the sperm. Previous studies of these nutrients for the treatment of male infertility have produced conflicting results.

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In the current trial, researchers enrolled 2,370 couples scheduling infertility treatments in four U.S. cities and their surrounding areas.

The men were assigned at random in order to receive either a placebo or a daily supplement containing  5mg of folic acid and 30mg of zinc.

Live births does not vary considerably among the two groups: 404 (34%) in the supplement group and 416 (35%) in the placebo group. Likewise, the groups did not differ among various measures for sperm health, such as sperm movement, shape and total count.

However, the quantity of sperm DNA fragmentation—broken DNA in the sperm—was higher in the supplement group (29.7%), compared to the placebo group (27.2%). Studies related a high rate of sperm DNA fragmentation to the infertility. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/zinc-folic-acid-supplement-does-not-improve-male-fertility-nih-study-suggests

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