Infertility is a common problem today and many men complain about problems like erectile dysfunction and low sperm count. Other than this, the quality of your sperm can also cause infertility.
According to research, you can now improve your quality of sperm with a simple diet supplement containing a compound, lycopene, found in cooked tomatoes.
This discovery was by researchers at the University of Sheffield. They say that this discovery could transform the outlook for men with fertility problems.
It will also open up the way to develop better methods to reduce the damaging impact of modern living on reproductive health. Of all infertility cases, approximately 40 to 50 per cent are due to ‘male factor’ infertility, they say.
LYCOPENE CAN IMPROVE SPERM MORPHOLOGY
This is the first ever double-blind randomised controlled trial to assess the impact of giving men a dietary compound called LactoLycopene, researchers say.
They also added that it is possible to increase the proportion of healthy shaped sperm (sperm morphology) and boost ‘fast swimming’ sperm by around 40 per cent.
Lycopene can also be found in some other fruits and vegetables. This is a pigment that gives tomatoes their red colour.
However, it is not easy for the human body to absorb this compound. Hence, for the 12-week trial, researchers used a commercially available formulation called LactoLycopene.
There were a total of 60 healthy volunteers between the ages of 19 to 30.
Half took LactoLycopene supplements and the other half took identical placebo (dummy pills) every day for 12 weeks.
Neither the researchers nor the volunteers knew who was receiving the LactoLycopene treatment and who was receiving the placebo.
Sperm and blood samples were collected at the beginning and end of the trial.
LYCOPENE MAY REDUCE DAMAGE CAUSED BY OXIDATION OF SPERM
It was seen that there was a dramatic improvement in morphology, the size and shape, of the sperm in participants who took the supplement.
Researchers used a computer system to make these measurements, thereby eliminating the scope of human error.
The person operating the computer also had no idea who had taken LactoLycopene and who had taken the dummy pills.
Researchers are not very sure about how Lycopene in tomatoes improves sperm quality. But lycopene is also an antioxidant that reduces the damage caused by oxidation of sperm, which is a known cause of male fertility problems.
They say that this antioxidant effect is key in producing the improvements in sperm quality seen in the trial.
Lycopene is known as a powerful antioxidant. Other than improving sperm quality, it also comes with a host of health boosting properties.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF LYCOPENE
This compound can offer protection from a range of diseases. Other than tomatoes, you can also source it from some common fruits and vegetables like watermelon, guavas, red cabbage, carrots, papaya and mangoes.
Let us take a look at a few of its health benefits.
It offers protection against cancer
Lycopene in tomatoes has antioxidative properties that offer protection against certain kinds of cancers. It is especially beneficial for breast and prostate cancers.
Several studies have also shown that it can arrest the spread of renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of malignant kidney tumours. Lycopene is also useful in the treatment of HPV infection, which is a major cause of uterine cancer.
Lycopene prevents vision loss
It protects your eyes from oxidative stress. This is a common cause of most eye disorders. In fact, lycopene may also be able to prevent or delay cataracts and delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration.
This is mainly due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
It can boost brain function
Lycopene can help prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This compound has the ability to correct cell corruption and protect healthy cells.
It can also stop future cell damage in the brain. Moreover, it reduces the severity and frequency of epileptic seizures.
It can boost your heart health
Lycopene in tomatoes lowers blood pressure levels and prevents a host of cardiovascular disorders. It can offer protection against coronary heart disease, myocardial ischemia and atherosclerosis.
It is good for your bones
Lycopene reduces the damage caused by oxidative stress on the bones. It prevents brittleness and weakness in your bone structure.
It also slows down the death of cells that weaken bones and rejuvenates the cellular architecture of bones.