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Article

Dietary Supplements for Male Infertility: A Critical Evaluation of Their Composition

1
Unit of Andrology and Reproductive Medicine & Centre for Male Gamete Cryopreservation, Department of Medicine, University of Padova, 35128 Padova, Italy
2
Department of Medicine, Clinical Nutrition Unit University of Padova, 35128 Padova, Italy
3
Department of Women and Children’s Health, University of Padua, 35122 Padua, Italy
4
Unit of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Madonna della Navicella Hospital, Chioggia, 30015 Venice, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
First co-author.
Nutrients 2020, 12(5), 1472; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12051472
Received: 17 April 2020 / Revised: 15 May 2020 / Accepted: 18 May 2020 / Published: 19 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutraceuticals and Human Health)
Dietary supplements (DS) represent a possible approach to improve sperm parameters and male fertility. A wide range of DS containing different nutrients is now available. Although many authors demonstrated benefits from some nutrients in the improvement of sperm parameters, their real effectiveness is still under debate. The aim of this study was to critically review the composition of DS using the Italian market as a sample. Active ingredients and their minimal effective daily dose (mED) on sperm parameters were identified through a literature search. Thereafter, we created a formula to classify the expected efficacy of each DS. Considering active ingredients, their concentration and the recommended daily dose, DS were scored into three classes of expected efficacy: higher, lower and none. Twenty-one DS were identified. Most of them had a large number of ingredients, frequently at doses below mED or with undemonstrated efficacy. Zinc was the most common ingredient of DS (70% of products), followed by selenium, arginine, coenzyme Q and folic acid. By applying our scoring system, 9.5% of DS fell in a higher class, 71.4% in a lower class and 19.1% in the class with no expected efficacy. DS marketed in Italy for male infertility frequently includes effective ingredients but also a large number of substances at insufficient doses or with no reported efficacy. Manufacturers and physicians should better consider the scientific evidence on effective ingredients and their doses before formulating and prescribing these products. View Full-Text
Keywords: fertility; ingredients; male reproduction; semen parameters; supplements fertility; ingredients; male reproduction; semen parameters; supplements
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MDPI and ACS Style

Garolla, A.; Petre, G.C.; Francini-Pesenti, F.; De Toni, L.; Vitagliano, A.; Di Nisio, A.; Foresta, C. Dietary Supplements for Male Infertility: A Critical Evaluation of Their Composition. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1472. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12051472

AMA Style

Garolla A, Petre GC, Francini-Pesenti F, De Toni L, Vitagliano A, Di Nisio A, Foresta C. Dietary Supplements for Male Infertility: A Critical Evaluation of Their Composition. Nutrients. 2020; 12(5):1472. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12051472

Chicago/Turabian Style

Garolla, Andrea, Gabriel C. Petre, Francesco Francini-Pesenti, Luca De Toni, Amerigo Vitagliano, Andrea Di Nisio, and Carlo Foresta. 2020. "Dietary Supplements for Male Infertility: A Critical Evaluation of Their Composition" Nutrients 12, no. 5: 1472. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12051472

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