Zinc, folic acid supplement does not improve male fertility, IRP study suggests
Dietary supplements containing zinc and folic acid — marketed as a treatment for male infertility — do not appear to improve pregnancy rates, sperm counts or sperm function, according to a study conducted by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The authors note that most so-called fertility supplements contain zinc and folic acid. Zinc is an essential mineral for sperm formation, and folate, the natural form of folic acid, depends on zinc to help form DNA in the sperm. Previous studies of these nutrients as a treatment for male infertility have produced conflicting results.
“Our study is one of the first randomized, placebo-controlled trials to assess whether folic acid and zinc supplements help to improve male fertility,” said Enrique Schisterman, Ph.D., of the NICHD Division of Intramural Population Health Research, who conducted the trial, along with colleagues. “Our results suggest that these dietary supplements have little to no effect on fertility and may even cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms.”
This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022