Scientists investigating sperm-boosting nutrient

An Indian-American scientist showed that supplementation of lycopene, a nutrient found in tomatoes, could raise sperm count by up to 70 per cent.  

A new study has been launched in the United Kingdom to further investigate the significance of a nutrient found in tomatoes to boost male fertility after an Indian-American scientist showed that lycopene supplementation could raise sperm count by up to 70 per cent.

In a 12-week trial, scientists at the University of Sheffield in the U.K. are trying to find if raising blood lycopene, the red pigment compound found most readily in sun-ripened tomatoes, improves sperm quality.

Many a benefit

Studies have already proved that lycopene can boost sperm count by up to 70 per cent as well as conferring other benefits on the male reproductive system.

The research is led by Allan Pacey, Professor of Andrology, and Elizabeth Williams, Senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition, at the university’s Department of Oncology and Human Metabolism.

Blame it on the quality

It is estimated that one in six couples are unable to conceive — in about half of cases the problem is caused by poor sperm quality.

Mr. Pacey said: “Studies elsewhere in the world have shown that the antioxidant properties of lycopene seem to have a beneficial effect on sperm quality and we want to investigate this further. Production of sperm takes three months.”

“The study will tell us if lycopene improves the quality of sperm already in development by reducing DNA damage, and whether it produces an overall increase in the number of mature sperm produced overall,” Mr. Pacey said.

The initiative follows a study led by Ashok Agarwal, director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Reproductive Medicine in the U.S., which indicated lycopene supplementation could raise sperm count by up to 70 per cent.

It is anti-carcinogenic too

A number of other research studies have also shown lycopene may slow the progression of cancer of the prostate, the gland that makes seminal fluid.

Ms. Williams, who is an expert in designing trials to observe the health effects of diet, said: “Little work has been done in this area, but if lycopene has a beneficial effect on the prostate, it is reasonable to think it might also improve sperm function.”

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 3:11:31 AM |

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