A new research published in the European Journal of Nutrition suggests that a dietary compound found in cooked tomatoes could potentially improve sperm quality.
Tomatoes are rich in the compound lycopene. However, dietary lycopene is poorly absorbed by the human body, so the study used a commercially available derivate of lycopene called 'lactolycopene' for enhanced bioavailability.
Researchers at the University of Sheffield conducted a randomised trial involving 60 healthy volunteers aged 19 to 30 years. Half of the participants received the lactolycopene supplement and the other half received placebo for 12 weeks. Sperm and blood samples were analysed at the start and end of the trial.
The findings showed around 40 per cent improvement in the proportion of healthy shaped sperms and ‘fast swimming’ sperms in participants taking lactolycopene supplement. Professor Allan Pacey, one of the co-researchers, said: "The improvement in morphology - the size and shape of the sperm, was dramatic. We used a computer system to make these measurements, which takes a lot of the human error out of the results."
The next steps for the research team would be investigating the effects of the supplement in men with fertility problems and determine its effect on successful conception and reduction in infertility treatments.