Recognising the importance of male infertility and finding less invasive and use of more natural bioactive phytochemical nutraceuticals in the management of male infertility, the current article was published with the aim of analyzing the clinical evidence on the effectiveness of nutraceuticals in the treatment and management of andrological diseases including fertility, sexuality, and prostatic diseases. The aim was also having a position statement on the use of nutraceuticals from the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine (SIAMS).
Commentary: In this commentary, only the studies relating to infertility will be addressed. Authors used internationally recognized coding system to search for published articles relating to the use of nutraceuticals in male sexual and reproductive disturbances. They adopt the definition of 'Nutraceuticals' as coined in 1989 by Stephen De Felice as "a food or part of it that determines the overall health benefits, including prevention and/or treatment of diseases". Although nutraceuticals include many different products now. However, the most commonly studied are bioactive components (phytonutrients/phytochemicals) from plant sources consisting of "roots, seeds, pollen, bark, or fruit, alone or in combination". They reviewed metanalysis related articles as well as original research articles in their evaluation of evidence and arriving at their conclusions and recommendations. In Table 1 of their article, the authors provide information regarding the main nutraceuticals used for the treatment of male infertility. They include vitamin C, carnitine, carotenoids (lycopene, β-carotene) and coenzyme Q10.
In summary, based on the evidence available so far, they:
- Recommend not to prescribe antioxidants for improving sperm parameters and pregnancy rate in all subjects with sperm abnormalities before a specific diagnostic workup
- Suggest the use of antioxidants in patients with idiopathic infertility in the presence of documented abnormal sperm parameters and altered sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF) only after a thorough diagnostic workup
Calogero AE., et al. 2017. Journal of Endocrinological Investigation. 40: 1389-1397