What are antioxidants and how do they help sperm quality?



An Antioxidant is a substance produced in the body which prevents the spread of oxidation.
Oxidation is the loss of electrons during a reaction when the oxidation state (the degree of loss of electrons) of a molecule, atom or ion is increased.
Oxidative stress occurs when the body’s natural antioxidant defences are not strong enough to counter the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This ROS, which is oxidative stress when the body cells produce excess of free radicals, causes damage to lipids, proteins and DNA.

Some factors that may increase oxidative stress are listed below:

  • Obesity.
  • Processed foods and diets which have increased sugar and fat.
  • Radiation exposure.
  • Cigarette smoking or use of other tobacco products
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Some particular medications
  • Pollution
  • Industrial chemical exposure, including pesticides.

Antioxidants are used to counteract stored food products in the body which deteriorate. Antioxidants are beneficial as they remove potentially damaging agents which cause oxidation in an organism.
In particular, Antioxidants help in decreasing damage to sperm motility and sperm DNA and, hence, this benefits sperm quality and male fertility.
Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Uperoxide, Dismutase, Gluthathione and Thiroedoxin are some of the natural antioxidants in semen. These antioxidants protect sperm from ROS. Evidence has shown that, compared with fertile men, lower antioxidant capacity and reduced semen antioxidants explain the infertility in some men.
Semen analysis can identify low concentration of sperm, reduced sperm motility and sperms with abnormal morphology.

Antioxidants are beneficial to the body, as they reduce damage to cells caused by free radicals (single atoms caused by splitting of oxygen in the body) which leads to oxidative stress.
For the body to function properly, the oxidative stress, which is linked to male infertility, reduced sperm motility and sperm DNA damage, needs to be kept under control and Antioxidants are one of the solutions to this problem and treatment options recommended by doctors.
Antioxidants, though produced in the body, are also available in certain food items, which can increase sperm fertility. The details of antioxidant foods are explained in another blog.
In case you would like to check for your sperm quality, we have both a basic semen analysis and a more advanced Sperm DNA Fragmentation test which we offer for couples trying to conceive. Please contact us on info@andrologycenter.in or call +91 9443793934 to get more information or to make an appointment.

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