Adam recently asked about a product which claimed to improve semen. Â There are many of those out there, and many are vitamins and combinations of vitamins. Â These “nutraceuticals” can be found in drug stores, in groceries, on the internet and elsewhere.
A big problem with claims about how a nutraceutical may improve sperm and semen is that most aren’t based on studies that have a placebo, a pill that looks just like the vitamin but doesn’t have the ingredients being studied. Â Why is that a problem? Â Because nature virtually guarantees that if you start out with a bunch of men that happen to have lower than average sperm or whatever, and you measure their sperm (or whatever) before and after treatment, they will always improve. Â It’s an effect called “regression to the mean.” Â It’s like if you took twenty people with colds and gave them all a pill and waited two weeks, most would get better. Â Was it due to the pill or to just nature doing its thing? Â You don’t know. Â The way to figure it out would be to give half of them the pill, and half of them a pill that looked like that one but had no active ingredients, and compare how the two groups did over that two weeks. Â That’s called a “controlled study,” and it’s critical in figuring out if a drug or vitamin works.
Last year, two controlled studies were published looking at a vitamin involved in the energy machine inside cells called “Coenzyme Q10” and sperm. Â In one, men with poorly wiggling sperm who took 200 mg daily improved while taking the vitamin compared to men taking placebo. Â In another, men taking 300 mg daily improved in both sperm number and motility compared to men taking placebo.
They’re small studies, and bigger studies are always better. Â But Coenzyme Q10 might help sperm numbers and especially motility. (I have absolutely no relationship, financial or otherwise, to companies that make it.)ï»¿