Multi-nutrient supplement encourages weight loss and fertility in mice, study finds

By Olivia Brown

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images ¦ Lecic
Getty Images ¦ Lecic

Related tags Fertility reproductive health Supplements Obesity Nutrition

Mice that received an obesity-inducing western diet (WD) had increased reproductive success when supplemented with a ‘Fertility Enhancer’ (FE) supplement containing antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, PUFAs and amino acids.

In the study, six weeks of obesity-induction by a Western diet resulted in significantly higher energy intake and pronounced body weight gain versus a low fat control diet.

Daily FE supplementation mitigated body weight gain, white adipose tissue (WAT) expansion, and stage 1–2 NAFLD in both male and female Western diet-fed mice, and increased mating frequency and number of litters over WD-fed controls, at least partially by attenuating ovarian inflammation and atresia.

The authors of the report, from McMaster University Medical Centre state, previously demonstrated​ that an almost identical multi-ingredient supplement effectively mitigated bodyweight gain and WAT expansion in male DIO mice fed a very high-fat diet (60% of total kcals).

The current study aimed to extend these findings to both male and female mice on a Western diet (42% of total kcals and 345 g/kg sucrose) and demonstrate potent lipolytic effects in the liver with an attenuation of cell senescence, inflammation, and apoptosis (stage 1–2 NAFLD).

We conclude that multi-ingredient supplementation of specific antioxidants, vitamins, and plant extracts may be efficacious for improving fertility in overweight and obese couples and should be considered as a viable adjunctive treatment in future clinical trials​.”, the researchers state.

“Collectively, our preclinical studies indicate that both central and peripheral factors, including appetite suppression, enhanced lipolysis, induction of WAT browning, and anti-inflammatory effects, drive the observed weight loss benefits.”

Modern day epidemic

The advancements of the modern day have created a highly obesogenic environment for many, tailored for lifestyles of convenience. Yet, obesity presents an epidemic with a complex multifactorial pathogenesis, triggering oxidative damage, inflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction, and ultimately affecting key organs of the body​. As a result, there is increased comorbidity and risk of mortality from non-communicable diseases​, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes (T2DM).  

In addition, excessive weight gain has also been linked to increased risk of infertility​, with evidence highlighting conditions from hyperandrogenism in men, to ovulatory dysfunction in women, as well as high risks of birth defects and stillbirths in offspring​.

Thus, the complex nature of obesity requires the establishment of effective multi-factorial prevention and treatment strategies, including behavioural and lifestyle modifications. As part of this treatment, the potential use of multi-ingredient nutritional supplements has grown in interest, following increasing evidence demonstrating the health benefits of studied antioxidants, vitamins, and botanicals.

Some evidence​ has suggested weight loss effects following intakes of caffeine and plant polyphenols, mostly attributed to thermogenic and anti-suppressant effects. In addition, synergistic weight loss has been reported from some antioxidants, paired with anti-inflammatory benefits. Yet, the evidence remains weak for this area.

Study details

Five-month-old male and female mice were administered a low-fat (LF) diet or a high fat/sucrose (HE) western diet over a six-week period. For a further six-week period, mice were fed a LF, HF, or HF diet paired with the ‘Fertility Enhancer’ supplement.

The supplement consisted of a blend of antioxidants (alpha-lipoic acid, co-enzyme Q10, and vitamin E), phytonutrients (green tea, green coffee, and forskolin), vitamins (folic acid), amino acids (L-arginine), ω3 PUFAs (EPA and DHA), and creatine monohydrate

It was observed that the FE supplement aided the mitigation of body weight gain, WAT expansion, liver lipid levels, and subsequent stage 1-2 NAFLD in both male and female mice administered the FE supplement.

Following a controlled mating and gestational period, it was observed more litters resulted (4 vs. 0) and there was a greater copulatory success (67% vs. 0%) in the mice administered FE, when compared to the control diets.


“Collectively, our preclinical studies indicate that both central and peripheral factors, including appetite suppression, enhanced lipolysis, induction of WAT browning, and anti-inflammatory effects, drive the observed weight loss benefits,” ​the researchers conclude.

“Polyphenols exhibit antioxidant (AO) properties that may mitigate the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) induced by high fat/sucrose diets and energy surplus, alleviating insulin resistance, oxidative damage, and inflammation in insulin sensitive tissues.

Some evidence also suggests that polyphenols may protect against NAFLD, which is possibly linked to the antioxidant response. Other types of AOs, such as coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), α-lipoic acid (α-LA), and vitamin E (α tocopherol), may provide synergistic weight loss, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits​,” they explain with regards to their observations.

Whilst the findings are in line with previous studies and observed mechanisms of action, the use of a small animal sample highlights the need for future research using human RCTs to prove a causal relationship.



Source: Nutrients

“A Multi-Ingredient Supplement Protects against Obesity and Infertility in Western Diet-Fed Mice”

Mats I. Nilsson, Linda May, Liza J. Roik, Matthew R. Fuda, Ashely Luo, Bart P. Hettinga, Adam L. Bujak and Mark A. Tarnopolsky.


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