04 March 2005

Helping Sperms Swim

Asthenozoospermia is a condition in which there is a marked reduction in the ability of sperms to move or swim. It is usually a factor contributing to male infertility. There are many treatment options like taking antioxidants and zinc supplements, but the most recent development is taking in carnithine supplements.

Carnitine Supplement Helps Sperm Swim
By David Douglas
Published: Thu Mar 3, 2005 05:50 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Taking carnitine supplements seems to improve sperm mobility in men with poorly active sperm, a problem known as asthenozoospermia, Italian researchers report.

However, for carnitine to work, tiny structures within the cell called mitochondria must function properly. Mitochondria are important because they provide the energy needed for sperm to move their tail and "swim."

Senior investigator Dr. Carlo Foresta told Reuters Health that "it is well known that in some asthenozoospermic subjects an improvement of sperm (motion occurs) after carnitine administration...However in other asthenozoospermic patients this effect is not present."

[Reuters Health]

The catch here is that carnithine may not work if the sperms have malfunctioning mitochondria. The mitochondrion is every cell's powerhouse, and it is here where biochemical reactions take place in order to produce energy. And if we are to consider the life of a sperm cell, it is highly dependent on energy supply in order to perform its function and swim.

Carnitine is a natural amino acid derivative and can be obtained in two ways: one is thru the kidneys and liver which produce it for the body, and the other is by getting it from dietary sources or supplements. The richest dietary sources are poultry, fish, meat (beef or pork) and dairy products.

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