Older men who consume higher amounts of certain micronutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc have less DNA damage to their sperm, according to a study published online Aug. 28 in Fertility and Sterility.
Thomas E. Schmid, Ph.D., from the Lawrence Berkeley National
Laboratory in California, and colleagues assessed average daily dietary
and supplement intake of micronutrients through a 100-item food
frequency questionnaire in 80 nonsmoking men ranging in age from 22 to
80 years old with no reported fertility problems. The level of sperm DNA
damage was assessed using alkaline and neutral DNA electrophoresis.
The researchers found that men who reported the highest intake of
vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, and zinc had less sperm DNA damage, with a
significant reduction of about 16 percent for the highest compared to
the lowest intake of vitamin C. For men older than 44 years, those with
the highest vitamin C intake had about 20 percent less sperm DNA damage,
with similar results noted for vitamin E and zinc. The benefit was not
seen for men younger than 44 years of age. Intake of beta-carotene was
not associated with sperm DNA damage.
"Men with higher dietary and supplement intake of certain
micronutrients may produce sperm with less DNA damage, especially among
older men," Schmid and colleagues conclude.
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