Animal study: pomegranate boosts fertility and testosterone levels in men
A not even wildly high dose of pomegranate extract can make men more fertile, and may even boost the concentration of testosterone in their blood. It's possible to draw this conclusion from an animal study that researchers at King Faisal University in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine.
Pomegranate contains compounds that, in animal studies at least, seem to boost the testosterone level. Substances found in pomegranate, such as vitamin C, ellagic acid and punicalagins, probably stimulate the concentration of endogenous antioxidants in the testes, as a result of which the synthesis of sperm, but also that of testosterone, can increase.
The researchers wanted to see for themselves whether pomegranate really could boost the production of sperm and testosterone. So they did an experiment with male rats, which were given an oral dose of olive oil [OO], black cumin oil [scientific name: Nigella sativa] [NSO] or an extract of pomegranate [PE] for a period of six weeks. A control group was given nothing [Control].
The researchers made their own pomegranate extract using ethanol. The human equivalent of the dose they used would be 1000 - 1500 mg extract per day.
Although the effects of the supplementation on the testosterone levels were not significant, they were not negligible either. Pomegranate extract performed best and boosted the testosterone concentration by 22 percent.
All three, olive oil, Nigella sativa oil and pomegranate, improved the rats' sperm quality. Pomegranate, however, once again worked best.
As other studies have shown, pomegranate reduced the concentration of malondialdehyde [MDA] in the blood. The lower this is, the lesser the amount of damage caused to cell membranes by aggressive molecules. This is probably because pomegranate boosted the production of endogenous antioxidants such as glutathione [GSH], glutathione-peroxidase [GSH-Px] and catalase [CAT].
"Olive oil, Nigella sativa oil and Pomegranate extract could be used safely for treatment of male infertility resulted from excess oxidative free radicals accumulation in testicular tissues affecting the sperm quality and motility", the researchers conclude.
Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2013 Jul;3(7):563-8.
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