By Ronald Steriti, ND, PhD
Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males
(Ahmad, Mahdi et al. 2009) Download
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the impact of Withania somnifera roots on semen profile, oxidative biomarkers, and reproductive hormone levels of infertile men. DESIGN: Prospective study. SETTING: Departments of Biochemistry and Urology, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University, Lucknow, India. PATIENT(S): Seventy-five normal healthy fertile men (control subjects) and 75 men undergoing infertility screening. INTERVENTION(S): High-performance liquid chromatography assay procedure for quantization of vitamin A and E in seminal plasma. Biochemical parameters in seminal plasma were estimated by standard spectrophotometric procedures. Estimation of T, LH, FSH, and PRL in blood serum by RIA methods. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES(S): Before and after the treatment, seminal plasma biochemical parameters, antioxidant vitamins, and serum T, LH, FSH, and PRL levels were measured. RESULT(S): Withania somnifera inhibited lipid peroxidation and protein carbonyl content and improved sperm count and motility. Treatment of infertile men recovered the seminal plasma levels of antioxidant enzymes and vitamins A, C, and E and corrected fructose. Moreover, treatment also significantly increased serum T and LH and reduced the levels of FSH and PRL. CONCLUSION(S): The treatment with W. somnifera effectively reduced oxidative stress, as assessed by decreased levels of various oxidants and improved level of diverse antioxidants. Moreover, the levels of T, LH, FSH and PRL, good indicators of semen quality, were also reversed in infertile subjects after treatment with the herbal preparation.
Mucuna pruriens Reduces Stress and Improves the Quality of Semen in Infertile Men
(Shukla, Mahdi et al. 2007) Download
The present investigation was undertaken to assess the role of Mucuna pruriens in infertile men who were under psychological stress. Study included 60 subjects who were undergoing infertility screening and were found to be suffering from psychological stress, assessed on the basis of a questionnaire and elevated serum cortisol levels. Age-matched 60 healthy men having normal semen parameters and who had previously initiated at least one pregnancy were included as controls. Infertile subjects were administered with M. pruriens seed powder (5 g day(-1)) orally. For carrying out morphological and biochemical analysis, semen samples were collected twice, first before starting treatment and second after 3 months of treatment. The results demonstrated decreased sperm count and motility in subjects who were under psychological stress. Moreover, serum cortisol and seminal plasma lipid peroxide levels were also found elevated along with decreased seminal plasma glutathione (GSH) and ascorbic acid contents and reduced superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase activity. Treatment with M. pruriens significantly ameliorated psychological stress and seminal plasma lipid peroxide levels along with improved sperm count and motility. Treatment also restored the levels of SOD, catalase, GSH and ascorbic acid in seminal plasma of infertile men. On the basis of results of the present study, it may be concluded that M. pruriens not only reactivates the anti-oxidant defense system of infertile men but it also helps in the management of stress and improves semen quality.
Aromatase inhibitors for male infertility
(Raman and Schlegel 2002) Download
PURPOSE: Testosterone-to-estradiol ratio levels in infertile men improve during treatment with the aromatase inhibitor, testolactone, and resulting changes in semen parameters. We evaluated the effect of anastrozole, a more selective aromatase inhibitor, on the hormonal and semen profiles of infertile men with abnormal baseline testosterone-to-estradiol ratios. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 140 subfertile men with abnormal testosterone-to-estradiol ratios were treated with 100 to 200 mg. testolactone daily or 1 mg. anastrozole daily. Changes in testosterone, estradiol, testosterone-to-estradiol ratios and semen parameters were evaluated during therapy. The effect of obesity, diagnosis of the Klinefelter syndrome, and presence of varicocele and/or history of varicocele repair on treatment results was studied. RESULTS: Men treated with testolactone had an increase in testosterone-to-estradiol ratios during therapy (mean plus or minus standard error of the mean 5.3 +/- 0.2 versus 12.4 +/- 1.1, p <0.001). This change was confirmed in subgroups of men with the Klinefelter syndrome, a history of varicocele repair and those with varicocele. A total of 12 oligospermic men had semen analysis before and during testolactone treatment with an increase in sperm concentration (5.5 versus 11.2 million sperm per ml., p <0.01), motility (14.7% versus 21.0%, p <0.05), morphology (6.5% versus 12.8%, p = 0.05), and motility index (606.3 versus 1685.2 million motile sperm per ejaculate, respectively, p <0.05) appreciated. During anastrozole treatment, similar changes in the testosterone-to-estradiol ratios were seen (7.2 +/- 0.3 versus 18.1 +/- 1.0, respectively, p <0.001). This improvement of hormonal parameters was noted for all subgroups except those patients with the Klinefelter syndrome. A total of 25 oligospermic men with semen analysis before and during anastrozole treatment had an increase in semen volume (2.9 versus 3.5 ml., p <0.05), sperm concentration (5.5 versus 15.6 million sperm per ml., p <0.001) and motility index (832.8 versus 2930.8 million motile sperm per ejaculate, respectively, p <0.005). These changes were similar to those observed in men treated with testolactone. No significant difference in serum testosterone levels during treatment with testolactone and anastrozole was observed. However, the anastrozole treatment group did have a statistically better improvement of serum estradiol concentration and testosterone-to-estradiol ratios (p <0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Men who are infertile with a low serum testosterone-to-estradiol ratio can be treated with an aromatase inhibitor. With treatment, an increase in testosterone-to-estradiol ratio occurred in association with increased semen parameters. Anastrozole and testolactone have similar effects on hormonal profiles and semen analysis. Anastrazole appears to be at least as effective as testolactone for treating men with abnormal testosterone-to-estradiol ratios, except for the subset with the Klinefelter syndrome, who appeared to be more effectively treated with testolactone.
Ahmad, M. K., A. A. Mahdi, et al. (2009). "Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males." Fertil Steril.
Raman, J. D. and P. N. Schlegel (2002). "Aromatase inhibitors for male infertility." J Urol 167(2 Pt 1): 624-9.
Shukla, K. K., A. A. Mahdi, et al. (2007). "Mucuna pruriens Reduces Stress and Improves the Quality of Semen in Infertile Men." Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.