Pomegranates Linked to Enhanced Sperm Quality in Animal Study
A new animal study indicates that the antioxidants in pomegranates may enhance sperm quality, adding to past evidence that other antioxidants””such as resveratrol””also may play a role in sperm health.
Scientists have previously researched pomegranates and the antioxidants found within for their ability to enhance cognition and play a role in the health of the heart and prostate gland. The pomegranate component known as punicalagin, which accounts for about half of the fruit”s antioxidant ability, is thought to be involved in pomegranate’s role in health. The antioxidants in pomegranates may play a role in sperm health because sperm are especially susceptible to oxidative damage due to the high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids involved in regulating sperm maturation and spermatogenesis.
Researchers in the current study investigated the effects of pomegranate juice consumption on sperm quality, sperm cell density, antioxidant activity and testosterone levels of male rats. Twenty-eight healthy adult male rats were divided into four groups of seven. One group was given distilled water, another group was given .25 ml pomegranate juice plus distilled water, a third group was given .50 ml pomegranate juice plus distilled water, and a fourth group was given 1 ml pomegranate juice daily for seven weeks.
In animals given different doses of pomegranate juice, there was a significant decrease in a marker of oxidative stress known as malondialdehyde and an increase in levels of the antioxidants glutathione and vitamin C as well as the antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase and catalase. Furthermore, pomegranate juice consumption caused an increase in sperm concentration in the part of the testes known as the epididymis as well as an increase in sperm motility, spermatogenic cell density and diameter of seminiferous tubules and cell layer thickness. The pomegranate juice also decreased abnormal sperm rate when compared to the control group.
The study authors concluded, “The results suggest that pomegranate juice consumption improves sperm quality and antioxidant activity of rats.”
In past studies, other antioxidants also have demonstrated an effect on sperm. Resveratrol, when given orally to rodents, has significantly increased sperm counts compared to rodents in the control group. Resveratrol also increased testosterone concentrations in the animals. It appeared to enhance sperm production by stimulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, without inducing adverse effects. In another animal study, resveratrol protected sperm from the DNA damage caused by exposure to a toxic chemical.
TÃ¼rk G, SÃ¶nmez M, Aydin M, YÃ¼ce A, GÃ¼r S, YÃ¼ksel M, Aksu EH, Aksoy H. Effects of pomegranate juice consumption on sperm quality, spermatogenic cell density, antioxidant activity and testosterone level in male rats. Clin Nutr. 2008 Jan 25 [Epub ahead of print].
Juan ME, GonzÃ¡lez-Pons E, Munuera T, Ballester J, RodrÃguez-Gil JE, Planas JM. trans-Resveratrol, a natural antioxidant from grapes, increases sperm output in healthy rats. J Nutr. 2005 Apr;135(4):757-60.
Revel A, Raanani H, Younglai E, Xu J, Han R, Savouret JF, Casper RF.
Resveratrol, a natural aryl hydrocarbon receptor antagonist, protects sperm from DNA damage and apoptosis caused by benzo(a)pyrene. Reprod Toxicol. 2001 Sep-Oct;15(5):479-86.
Pomegranate extract, standardized for the fruit’s main antioxidant known as punicalagin, and resveratrol are both found in C-Mend. Extension Resveratrol is another option for individuals wanting to increase their resveratrol intake without consuming large quantities of alcohol.