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October 09, 2019

This compound found in tomatoes could remedy male infertility

Lycopene boosts sperm shape and speed, study finds

Men's Health Sexual Health
1009_tomatoes sperm infertility Pixabay/Pexels

Lycopene, a compound found in tomatoes, can reduce signs of aging and sun damage. But a new study also shows it can improve sperm shape and speed.

A dietary compound found in cooked tomatoes has been found to improve sperm quality and could remedy male infertility problems, researchers found in a new trial. 

Men who took a dietary supplement called LactoLycopene — which contains lycopene, the pigment that makes tomatoes red — saw a 40% increase in healthy-shaped and "fast swimming" sperm, scientists at the University of Sheffield in England announced on Wednesday. 

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Lycopene is found in various fruits and vegetables, but the main source in our diets comes from tomatoes. Because lycopene is poorly absorbed by the body, scientists used LactoLycopene, a commercial supplement, for their study. 

Between 40% to 50% of all infertility cases are due to "male factor" infertility. Scientists are optimistic the new discovery could work for males with diagnosed infertility issues. 

The 12-week trial involved 60 healthy volunteers aged 19 to 30.

"This was a small study and we do need to repeat the work in bigger trials, but the results are very encouraging," said researcher Liz Williams, a human nutrition specialist at the University of Sheffield. "The next step is to repeat the exercise in men with fertility problems and see if LactoLycopene can increase sperm quality for those men and whether it helps couples conceive and avoid invasive fertility treatments."

Lycopene has shown to be an incredibly beneficial nutritional supplement. Lycopene also is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that can help clogged pores and breakouts, too. 

Skincare experts recommend using products derived from lycopene or eating lycopene-rich foods to promote heart health, protect from cancer, boost eyesight, reverse signs of aging and protect the skin from sun damage. 

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