Antioxidants could affect fertility

Scientist have warned that more caution is needed in the use of antioxidants, because they could potentially affect fertility in both women and men.

New research has revealed that antioxidants, which are included in many skincare products and supplements, could cause fertility problems in females because their capacity to reduce inflammation may affectthe production of eggs in the ovaries. Common antioxidants include vitamins C and E.

Professor Nava Dekel of US research centre the Weizmann Institute applied antioxidants to the ovaries of mice and found that ovulation dropped significantly.

Fertility experts believe that ovulation uses many of the processes seen in inflammation meaning that susbtances such as antioxidants that prevent inflammation may also affect ovulation.

Dekel said more research was needed into the effects. Interestingly, a separate study has suggested that men who take antioxidants could increase their fertility because antioxidants fight reactive oxygen species molecules, which cause damage to cells, particularly sperm cells.

In recent trials, scientists from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, found that a couple was more likely to have a pregnancy or live birth if the man took antioxidants, such as vitamin E or zinc.