Zinc and folic acid supplements are a go-to when it comes to infertility treatments. The latest research suggests that it might not be as effective as was perceived. The new study, which aimed at studying the effect of regular folic acid and zinc supplementation on semen quality and live birth, found that it does not improve semen quality.
The study involved 2,370 couples, out of which men were randomly assigned either daily supplements of zinc and folic acid, or placebo. Apart from no significant semen quality improvements as compared to the placebo group, the participants who received the supplements also reported gastrointestinal discomfort.
“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.”
Zinc is known to be a mineral essential for sperm formation, while a form of folic acid is known to aid the same. Previous studies to understand the effectiveness of these minerals in reproductive health have reported conflicting results.
The paper has been published in JAMA.