Thursday, 20 January 2011

Fictitious Fertility

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Today the BBC published an article examining the supposed beneficial effects of antioxidants on male fertility 1. This article used a study on existing fertility data from men who took supplements compared with controls. The report initially looked positive until this statement “However, he said it was important to note that antioxidant therapy would be unlikely to increase the numbers of sperm men produce and could not therefore help with all cases of male infertility.” So essentially, there is no benefit in taking antioxidants to improve your fertility. Also, it is quite interesting how little science is actually included in this report, this is probably because there is no research clearly showing any affect of consuming antioxidants and all the antioxidant benefits  that are cited are simply extrapolated from the effects seen with antioxidants produced naturally by the body. It is highly unlikely that any antioxidants consumed would be absorbed by the body, and it is more likely they will simply be broken down and excreted, because the body produces its own specific antioxidants at the required locations. Another important factor to bare in mind is that some oxidation processes are vital within the human body, like the use of oxidising free radicals generated by the immune system in order to fight off infections. If ingesting antioxidants had a direct effect on the body then this beneficial effect would be cancelled out by the lack of an affective immune system.

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