The next time you empty an entire bottle of ketchup on a platter of french fries, you don’t need to feel guilty about it. Instead, consider it a form of male fertility vitamins.
But anyway, the thing is:
A lot of the health benefits you get from eating tomatoes and tomato products come from a little something known as lycopene.
Even though a lot is known about Lycopene and what it can do, a recent study found that lycopene may have a hidden benefit for couples looking to get pregnant.
What Is Lycopene?
Lycopene is an antioxidant that comes from plant-based foods. It’s the pigment that gives fruits like watermelons, tomatoes, and pink grapefruit their distinct color. Oddly enough, you won’t find lycopene in cherries, strawberries, or red bell peppers.
And that’s not all it does!
For the 40 to 50% of the couples out there having trouble getting pregnant, a recent study found that lycopene may also work as a sperm enhancer.
Lycopene as a Fertility Enhancer
Researchers at the University of Sheffield discovered that taking LactoLycopene, a dietary compound consisting of tomato extract and whey protein, had improved sperm morphology (shape and size of sperm) beyond anyone’s expectations.
The study was led by Dr. Elizabeth A. Williams and done on a group of 60 healthy men. They were fed either a placebo or LactoLycopene for 12 weeks before the effects of the supplement kicked in.
And kick in, it did!
The researchers were astounded by how much the participants’ sperm quality had improved. More than half of the participants who received the lycopene supplement had a higher sperm count with better shape and movement compared to pre-trial analyses.
Basically, they discovered that lycopene, the stuff that gives fruits and vegetables their unique reddish tone, may house the potential to enhance semen quality.
Why a Supplement and Not Tomatoes?
LactoLycopene was used in place of lycopene from tomatoes and other red-hued plant-based sources because our bodies are ill-equipped to absorb it in its raw form.
Even after cooking tomatoes, a process that increases the bioavailability of lycopene, we’d have to consume a ton of tomatoes to feel the real health-beneficial effects of the antioxidant.
To put things into perspective, a single raw tomato can contain as much as 2 mg of Lycopene per 100 gr, whereas each LactoLycopene pill consumed daily in Dr. Elizabeth’s study contained 14 mg of lycopene. If my not-so-quick maths is right, it would take seven raw tomatoes to meet the same dosage of a lone LactoLycopene tablet.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather swallow a single tablet than down seven tomatoes in one sitting any day of the week.
So with this breakthrough in fertility science in mind, is it safe to assume taking lycopene supplements can increase your chances of getting your SO pregnant? Is it time to toss away other fertility supplements in the garbage?
No, it’s not safe to assume, and no, you shouldn’t discard anything. At least not yet anyway.
Molecular Hydrogen as a Sperm Enhancer
There is still much scientists need to do before any definitive conclusions of lycopene’s effects on male fertility are drawn.
The subjects in Dr. Elizabeth’s study were all healthy men without any preexisting fertility issues. In short, lycopene used as male fertility vitamins only enhanced semen quality in those whose fertility was not in doubt.
But if future studies done on a group of infertile men reach the same conclusion as Dr. Elizabeth’s, then Molecular Hydrogen supplements may have a new contender as a sperm enhancer.
What we do know is the Molecular Hydrogen, for the time being, is the boss of all bosses in the antioxidant world.
A low antioxidant-to-free-radical ratio has been linked to fertility problems in men, potentially leading to misshapen sperm cells, slower swimmers, and lower sperm counts.
Neutrally charged hydrogen molecules help maintain a healthy balance between oxidative stress-causing free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) which, in turn, boosts testosterone production and increases pregnancy success rates.
In the end…
No one’s more excited than us about the prospect of lycopene working as a men’s fertility vitamin, but we shouldn’t jump the gun.
More research on the antioxidant and its sperm-enhancing qualities needs to be done before ordering pizza, spaghetti, and tomato smoothies for date night with the wife.