The antioxidant Pycnogenol improved the quality and function of sperm in men with fertility problems by a mean of 38 per cent and 19 per cent respectively after only 90 days of use, according to a new landmark clinical trial, said Natural Health Science, the North American arm of Horphag Research who developed the product.
The trial results, published last week in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, offer a new alternative to more invasive procedures of treating infertility.
"Up to 60 per cent of infertile couples have difficulty conceiving due to abnormalities in the male's sperm. By taking Pycnogenol to increase normally functioning sperm naturally, couples may be able to (or potentially) avoid in-vitro fertilisation and either enjoy improved natural fertility or undergo less invasive and less expensive fertility-promoting procedures,"said Dr Scott Roseff, author of the study and director of the West Essex Center for Advanced Reproductive Endocrinology (W.E. C.A.R.E.) in West Orange, New Jersey.
The seminal fluid surrounding the sperm is normally rich in antioxidants and protects the sperm from oxidative damage, according to Dr Roseff, "but in sub-fertile men the seminal fluid, for unknown reasons, may not be protected by these antioxidants."
"We chose Pycnogenol for the study because it is one of the richest natural sources of bioavailable and bioactive antioxidant compounds known. Pycnogenol has been found to be many times more potent than other known antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E. The biological precursors of the oligomeric procyanidins such as catechin and taxifoline are effective and well-known free-radical scavengers," he said.
According to Dr Roseff, the study clearly shows that taking daily doses of Pycnogenol resulted in improved sperm quality and function because the natural antioxidant protection was supplemented.
Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract which comes from the bark of the Maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France. It contains procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids, making it a super antioxidant.
Pycnogenol is currently available in a large range of dietary supplements and multi-vitamin formulas worldwide.
The study was supported by Horphag Research, the original developers of Pycnogenol.