Antioxidant supplements don't help increase fertility

Aug. 5, 2013 at 9:23 PM
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AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A systematic review of research finds no high-quality evidence antioxidants help increase a woman's odds of having a baby, researchers in New Zealand say.

The review, published in The Cochrane Library, found women were no more likely to conceive when taking oral antioxidants as supplement and that there was limited information about potential harms.

Lead researcher Marian Showell of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The University of Auckland in New Zealand said women undergoing fertility treatment often take dietary supplements including antioxidants, to try to increase their chances of becoming pregnant.

The researchers analyzed data from 28 studies involving a total of 3,548 women treated at fertility clinics.

The results show no significant increase in women becoming pregnant when taking antioxidants compared to those taking placebos or being given standard treatment, including folic acid, a supplement recommended for pregnant women to help prevent certain birth defects.

Women taking antioxidants experienced no more adverse effects compared to those who received placebos or standard treatment, the study said.

Overall, the researchers considered the quality of the studies to be low or very low and the number of different antioxidants tested made it difficult to make comparisons, Showell said.

"We could not assess whether one antioxidant was better than another," Showell said in a statement.

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