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Antioxidants may boost chances of pregnancy

Men who are struggling to make their partner pregnant could boost their chances by taking antioxidants, new research suggests.

Vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, L-carnitine, zinc and magnesium may boost the quality of sperm, according to a review of 34 trials.

Experts from the Cochrane Library analysed trials which dealt with male subfertility in more than 2,800 couples. All were receiving help with reproduction, such as having IVF. Researchers noted that chemicals called reactive oxygen species are thought to cause damage to cells, in particular sperm cells, which may result in lower sperm counts and interfere with the ability to fertilise eggs. The damage caused could be cut by taking antioxidants, the review suggested.

Lead researcher Marian Showell, from the University of Auckland, said it may be advisable for men to take oral antioxidant supplements to increase their partner's chances of conceiving.

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