Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are present in low concentrations in the genital tracts of males and females. Excessive ROS lead to oxidative stress, which damages DNA, lipids and proteins. Such molecular changes result in compromised vitality, increased morphological defects and decreased sperm motility in the male. In the female, oxidative stress interferes with oocyte maturation, and may inhibit in-vitro maturation of the oocyte. Recently, green tea supplementation has been reported to possess properties that may improve the quality of male and female gametes largely due to the ability of catechin polyphenols to quench ROS. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is considered the most promising bioactive compound in green tea due to its strong antioxidant activity. The unique property of green tea catechins may potentially improve reproductive health and pose an important research area. We present a comprehensive overview on the effects and potential roles of green tea catechins on oxidative stress in male and female reproduction and fertility. In this review, possible mechanisms of action are highlighted to better understand the potential use of green tea catechins in the reduction of oxidative stress and its associated beneficial effects in the clinical setting.
Keywords: Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (GCG); fertility; green tea catechins; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species (ROS); reproduction.
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