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Int J Androl. 2006 Apr;29(2):339-45.

Does folic acid and zinc sulphate intervention affect endocrine parameters and sperm characteristics in men?

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1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

We evaluated pre- and post-intervention endocrine and semen parameters in a double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention study to investigate the underlying mechanism of increased sperm concentration after folic acid and zinc sulphate intervention. A total of 47 fertile and 40 subfertile males participated in a 26-week intervention study consisting of a daily treatment with folic acid (5 mg/day) and zinc sulphate (66 mg/day), or placebo. Pre- and post-intervention semen parameters, serum folate, zinc, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), testosterone and inhibin B concentrations were measured. The results indicated that intervention treatment significantly increased sperm concentration in subfertile males. Other semen and endocrine parameters were not affected by intervention treatment. At baseline, positive correlations were found between serum zinc and sperm concentration, motility and inhibin B. Serum zinc and FSH were inversely correlated. As (already) well known from previous research, inhibin B positively correlated with sperm concentration, motility and morphology, and was inversely correlated with FSH. The latter was positively correlated with testosterone. In addition, testosterone and inhibin B were inversely correlated. After intervention, the correlations with zinc disappeared. We conclude that the increase in sperm concentration after folic acid and zinc sulphate intervention is not the result of alterations in FSH, testosterone or inhibin B concentrations. Although zinc and folate have several effects on spermatogenesis, the underlying mechanisms involved are not clear.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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