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Andrologia. 2018 Apr;50(3). doi: 10.1111/and.12927. Epub 2018 Jan 7.

Effect of metabolic and antioxidant supplementation on sperm parameters in oligo-astheno-teratozoospermia, with and without varicocele: A double-blind placebo-controlled study.

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Urology Department, Sapienza Rome University, Rome, Italy.
Andrology Center, American Center for Reproductive Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, OH, USA.
Sigma-Tau HealthScience, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Andrology Department, Uromedica Polyclinic, Belgrade, Serbia.


Since sperm require high energy levels to perform their specialised function, it is vital that essential nutrients are available for spermatozoa when they develop, capacitate and acquire motility. However, they are vulnerable to a lack of energy and excess amounts of reactive oxygen species, which can impair sperm function, lead to immotility, acrosomal reaction impairment, DNA fragmentation and cell death. This monocentric, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigated the effect of 6 months of supplementation with l-carnitine, acetyl-l-carnitine and other micronutrients on sperm quality in 104 subjects with oligo- and/or astheno- and/or teratozoospermia with or without varicocele. In 94 patients who completed the study, sperm concentration was significantly increased in supplemented patients compared to the placebo (p = .0186). Total sperm count also increased significantly (p = .0117) in the supplemented group as compared to the placebo group. Both, progressive and total motility were higher in supplemented patients (p = .0088 and p = .0120, respectively). Although pregnancy rate was not an endpoint of the study, of the 12 pregnancies that occurred during the follow-up, 10 were reported in the supplementation group. In general, all these changes were more evident in varicocele patients. In conclusion, supplementation with metabolic and antioxidant compounds could be efficacious when included in strategies to improve fertility.


antioxidant; oligo-astheno-teratozoospermia; sperm; spermiogram; varicocele

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