Male infertility: lifestyle factors and holistic, complementary, and alternative therapies

Asian J Androl. 2016 May-Jun;18(3):410-8. doi: 10.4103/1008-682X.175779.


While we may be comfortable with an allopathic approach to male infertility, we are also responsible for knowledge about lifestyle modifications and holistic, complementary, and alternative therapies that are used by many of our patients. This paper provides an evidence-based review separating fact from fiction for several of these therapies. There is sufficient literature to support weight reduction by diet and exercise, smoking cessation, and alcohol moderation. Supplements that have demonstrated positive effects on male fertility on small randomized controlled trial (RCT) include aescin, coenzyme Q 10 , glutathione, Korean red ginseng, L-carnitine, nigella sativa, omega-3, selenium, a combination of zinc and folate, and the Menevit antioxidant. There is no support for the use of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, or saffron. The data for Chinese herbal medications, acupuncture, mind-body practice, scrotal cooling, and faith-based healing are sparse or inconclusive.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Carnitine / therapeutic use
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Cryotherapy
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Escin / therapeutic use
  • Faith Healing
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use
  • Glutathione / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / therapy*
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Micronutrients / therapeutic use
  • Nigella sativa
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Panax
  • Selenium / therapeutic use
  • Ubiquinone / therapeutic use
  • Zinc / therapeutic use


  • Antioxidants
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Micronutrients
  • Ubiquinone
  • Escin
  • Glutathione
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Carnitine