Infertility effects approximately 7.3 million couples in the US. One of seven couple will experience difficulty conceiving. About 40-50% of these the cause is unknown. It may be related to toxicity, oxidative damage, poor nutritional status or nutritional deficiencies, heavy metal or environmental toxicity, systemic disorders, hormonal imbalances, xenobiotic exposure, age-related decline, or obesity.

According to a new study published in The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of India, researchers investigated the effects of zinc supplementation in sperm parameters in infertile diabetic men.

Type II diabetes can have adverse effects on the male reproductive system. Zinc is an essential micronutrient in the human diet that plays an critical role in scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS) by providing antioxidant and anti-apoptotic properties.

This interventional study included 43 infertile men. They were then randomly divided into two subgroups: normal saline intake or 25 mg of zinc sulfate supplementation for 64 days. Different indices of sperm analysis including number, morphology and motility. In addition, testosterone levels were evaluated in four groups. Protamine deficiency and DNA fragmentation were also assessed using chromomycin A3 (CMA3) and sperm chromatin dispersion (SCD) methods.

As a result, zinc supplementation reduced the deformity of neck and head of sperms as well as deformity of sperm tail in infertile diabetic men. In addition, zinc supplementation ameliorated sperm motility types A, B and C. Furthermore, zinc supplementation reduced abnormal morphology and DNA fragmentation of sperms, which increased the SCD1 and SCD2 and reduced the SCD3 and SCD4 in both treated groups.

In conclusion, zinc supplementation has been demonstrated to balance the effect of diabetes on sperm parameters, sperm chromatin and DNA integrity. Zinc supplementation should be considered a adjunctive support for diabetic infertile men.

Other nutrients that may be beneficial include vitamin D, fish oil, carnitine, CoQ10, melatonin, and inositol.

Also, one must keep in mind that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) including Bisphenol A (BPA), Phthalates, PCBs, PBBs, PBDEs, pesticides, and heavy metals can also contribute to infertility.

It is important to minimize further exposure by eating organic produce, drink filtered water, use household products that are fragrance-free and free of phthalates and BPA, and replace non-stick pans with glass, ceramic, or cast iron.

Nutrients that can support detoxification pathways include n-acetyl-cysteine, glutathione, calcium D-glucurate, milk thistle, and sulforaphane.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Akbari H, Elysai L. The effect of zinc supplementation on improving sperm parameters in infertile diabetic men. J Obstet Gynaecol India. 2023 Aug;72(4):316-321.

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