Description of Nutriphyt Improvum
Dietary supplements and infertility
It has become clear that not only women but also men have infertility problems.
Since the fifties scientific data have been available on the relation between the factors determining sperm quality, and those necessary for optimal fertility levels. Also, the role of antibodies against spermatozoa and biochemical analysis of seminal plasma have been highlighted. Gradually, techniques were developed and standardized for sperm analysis and quality determination. Although many cases of “hidden” male infertility were detected, only few modalities of treatment were available. Sperm freezing, artificial insemination and the use of donor sperm on the other hand received much attention. Recently however, a number of side-effects of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) have come to light such as an increased prevalence of major congenital malformations, impaired development, and increased risk of retinoblastoma in the offspring.
Male infertility: a multifactorial disease Similar to other diseases male infertility comes to expression as a result of the synergistic coincidence of four major factors: genetic defects or constitution, life style factors, professional and / or environmental exposure and diseases of the urethrogenital region or endocrine system. The latter include the diseases that constitute the traditional interest of the andrologist, such as varicocele, male accessory gland infection, congenital or acquired testicular damage, hypoandrogenism, immunological factors, etc.
The field of genetics is rapidly expanding and includes numerical and structural abnormalities of the chromosomal make-up as well as microdeletions of the Y chromosome. Whether or not certain of these minor deletions will cause infertility may depend on the coincidental presence of unfavourable life-style factors or exposure to toxic substances or hormone disrupters. These and the genital diseases have been shown to increase the load of reactive oxygen species to the ejaculate and the spermatozoa, resulting in increased chromosome fractionation and excessive production of oxidized DNA.
Oxidative overload also changes the phospholipid composition of the sperm membrane, reducing its fluidity and fusogenic capacity as well as the induced acrosome reactivity.
Connections have been found between nutrition and drug abuse, but also environmental circumstances. Lower sperm quality is caused by a number of factors including toxicants such heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury, (...)) but especially by xeno-oestrogens. Xeno-oestrogens are artificial chemical substances that mimic or enhance the effects of oestrogens by binding on the human oestrogen receptor or by influencing oestrogen metabolism.
Fatty acids: Since there is a positive correlation between the intake of alpha-linolenic acid and sperm concentration and motility, and since the food intake of essential fatty acids of the omega-3 group was found to be sub-optimal among subfertile men, it seems logical to supplement these patients with a source of 18:3 omega-3, namely flaxseed oil. When given in association with the co-factors zinc and vitamin B6, which enhance the elongase and desaturase enzymes, the alpha-linolenic acid will be converted into the long-chain, highly unsaturated omega fatty acids, namely ecosapantaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. The latter increase the fluidity of the sperm membrane, improving the induced acrosome reaction and fusogenic capacity of the spermatozoa.
Antioxidants: It has been shown that treatment with either acetyl carnitine or an antioxidant mixture of β-carotene and α-tocopherol significantly reduces the level of reactive oxygen species in semen. Astaxanthin is a lipophilic carotenoid produced by the alga Haematococcus pluvialis, and it has a strong antioxidant capacity. In a pilot double-blind randomized trial, 16 mg per day of the natural astaxanthin was given to the male partners of 20 infertile couples. In the treated group, the total and monthly pregnancy rates were 54.5% and 23.1%, respectively, compared with 11.1% and 3.6% in the placebo group. L-carnitine (an amino acid) plays - together with coenzyme Q10 – an important role in the energy production in cells and therefore also in sperm cells. Its concentration seems to be considerably low in infertile sperm. Carnitine also positively affects sperm motility. B vitamins are also important for the energy production.
Folic acid and zinc: A number of placebo-controlled trials show this combination was found to significantly increase sperm concentration and morphology in the subfertile men. Zinc also plays an important role in the spermatozoid production and in the noradrenaline and testosterone production by the adrenal glands. And testosterone seems to be of vital importance for the libido, both in women and men.
Plant extracts: In an open label study including four subfertile men, oral administration of 200 mg Pinus maritima bark extract per day improved sperm morphology by an average of 99%. Lepidium meyenii (maca), a plant growing in the central Andean region of Peru between 4000 and 4500 m altitude, increases sexual function of male mice and rats and invigorates spermatogenesis at the mitotic stages. When given to eight men with normal spermatogenesis, this extract significantly increased sperm production and motility without interfering with endocrine regulation. This means that more and more evidence-based material is available showing that sperm quality can be improved after intake of specific nutrients and those specific nutrients are present in Qualisperm®