Next Article in Journal
Antioxidant Activities of Alkyl Substituted Pyrazine Derivatives of Chalcones—In Vitro and In Silico Study
Previous Article in Journal
Effects of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Apples Enriched-Dark Chocolate on Endothelial Progenitor Cells in Patients with Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Randomized Cross-Over Trial
Article Menu
Issue 4 (April) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessReview

Antioxidants and Male Fertility: From Molecular Studies to Clinical Evidence

Unit for Multidisciplinary Research in Biomedicine (UMIB), Laboratory of Cell Biology, Department of Microscopy, Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar (ICBAS), University of Porto, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal
Research Group of Intracellular Signaling and Technology of Reproduction (SINTREP), Institute of Biotechnology in Agriculture and Livestock (INBIO G+C), University of Extremadura, 10004 Cáceres, Spain
Merck S.A., 1495-190 Algés, Portugal
i3S-Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde, University of Porto, 4200-135 Porto, Portugal
Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, 4200-319 Porto, Portugal
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Antioxidants 2019, 8(4), 89;
Received: 14 March 2019 / Revised: 1 April 2019 / Accepted: 3 April 2019 / Published: 5 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reactive Oxygen Species and Male Fertility)
PDF [1211 KB, uploaded 18 April 2019]


Spermatozoa are physiologically exposed to reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a pivotal role on several sperm functions through activation of different intracellular mechanisms involved in physiological functions such as sperm capacitation associated-events. However, ROS overproduction depletes sperm antioxidant system, which leads to a condition of oxidative stress (OS). Subfertile and infertile men are known to present higher amount of ROS in the reproductive tract which causes sperm DNA damage and results in lower fertility and pregnancy rates. Thus, there is a growing number of couples seeking fertility treatment and assisted reproductive technologies (ART) due to OS-related problems in the male partner. Interestingly, although ART can be successfully used, it is also related with an increase in ROS production. This has led to a debate if antioxidants should be proposed as part of a fertility treatment in an attempt to decrease non-physiological elevated levels of ROS. However, the rationale behind oral antioxidants intake and positive effects on male reproduction outcome is only supported by few studies. In addition, it is unclear whether negative effects may arise from oral antioxidants intake. Although there are some contrasting reports, oral consumption of compounds with antioxidant activity appears to improve sperm parameters, such as motility and concentration, and decrease DNA damage, but there is not sufficient evidence that fertility rates and live birth really improve after antioxidants intake. Moreover, it depends on the type of antioxidants, treatment duration, and even the diagnostics of the man’s fertility, among other factors. Literature also suggests that the main advantage of antioxidant therapy is to extend sperm preservation to be used during ART. Herein, we discuss ROS production and its relevance in male fertility and antioxidant therapy with focus on molecular mechanisms and clinical evidence. View Full-Text
Keywords: assisted reproductive technologies; sperm ROS; pregnancy; infertility; antioxidants therapy; reproductive outcome assisted reproductive technologies; sperm ROS; pregnancy; infertility; antioxidants therapy; reproductive outcome

Graphical abstract

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Martin-Hidalgo, D.; Bragado, M.J.; Batista, A.R.; Oliveira, P.F.; Alves, M.G. Antioxidants and Male Fertility: From Molecular Studies to Clinical Evidence. Antioxidants 2019, 8, 89.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Antioxidants EISSN 2076-3921 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top