Non-hormonal treatment for male infertility: the potential role of Serenoa repens, selenium and lycopene.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2019 Apr ;23(7):3112-3120. PMID: 31002161
OBJECTIVE: Male infertility is a wide spread disease among couple of childbearing age. Spermatozoa are highly susceptible to oxidative stress. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are capable of damaging the sperm membrane and DNA, inducing lipid peroxidation and sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF). Antioxidant supplementation is currently suggested after a complete diagnostic work-up, as recognized by the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine (SIAMS). Indeed, it has been showed to improve sperm quality, DNA fragmentation and pregnancy rate. The administration of Serenoa repens extracts (SrE), including free fatty acids (FFA), methyl and ethyl esters, glycerides, flavonoids and sterols, has never been investigated for male infertility. However, their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties provide the rational for their possible effectiveness. The aim of this review was to collect all the evidence supporting the potential usefulness of SrE, alone or in combination with other molecules with proven antioxidant effects, like selenium and lycopene (along with which they are often commercialized), to improve sperm parameters.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A systematic search was performed using Pubmed, MEDLINE, Cochrane, Academic One Files, Google Scholar and Scopus databases. The search strategy included the following key words: Serenoa repens, selenium, lycopene, oligozoospermia, oxidative stress, DNA fragmentation, male infertility, pregnancy rate.
CONCLUSIONS: By triggering multiple inflammatory and oxidative pathways, the combined administration of SrE, selenium and lycopene might likely improve the sperm quality. Proper studies are needed to test this hypothesis. Finally, since prostatitis can affect the sperm quality and considering the anti-estrogenic properties of SrE, we speculate about a possible specific indication in those patients with male infertility and"metabolic"prostatitis (where obesity and abnormal androgen/estrogen ratio concomitantly occur).