The objective was to evaluate the effect of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) on sperm parameters including total sperm concentration, sperm motility, sperm DHA, and seminal plasma DHA concentration in infertile men. The literature search was conducted in PubMed, Google Scholar, and Scopus from January 1, 1990 to December 20, 2017. The systematic review and meta-analysis were based on randomized controlled trials in infertile men with DHA or EPA treatments, either alone or in combination with other micronutrients. Three studies met the inclusion criteria: 147 patients in the intervention group and 143 patients in the control group. The analysis showed that omega-3 treatments significantly increased the sperm motility (RR 5.82, 95% CI [2.91, 8.72], p <. 0001, I2 = 76%) and seminal DHA concentration (RR 1.61, 95% CI [0.15, 3.07], p =. 03, I2 = 98%). Compared with the controls, the interventions did not affect the sperm concentration (RR 0.31, 95% CI [-8.13, 8.76], p =. 94, I2 = 95%) or sperm DHA (RR 0.50, 95% CI [-4.17, 5.16], p =. 83, I2 = 99%). The observed heterogeneity may be due to administration period and dosage of omega-3 fatty acids across the studies. Funnel plot shows no evidence of publication bias. This meta-analysis indicates that supplementing infertile men with omega-3 fatty acids resulted in a significant improvement in sperm motility and concentration of DHA in seminal plasma.
Keywords: docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; infertility; meta-analysis; omega-3 fatty acids.