Effect of dietary supplementation with a highly pure and concentrated docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplement on human sperm function

Reprod Biol. 2018 Sep;18(3):282-288. doi: 10.1016/j.repbio.2018.06.002. Epub 2018 Jun 20.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the possible beneficial effects of diet supplementation with a highly concentrated and purified docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) formula on human sperm function. We performed a prospective, randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled intervention study. One-hundred eighty human semen samples from sixty infertile patients recruited in a private assisted reproduction center were included. All samples were examined according to World Health Organization guidelines. We analyzed macroscopic and microscopic sperm parameters, oxidative stress, apoptosis, lipid peroxidation, mitochondrial membrane potential and DNA fragmentation before and after supplementation with different DHA daily doses (0.5, 1 and 2 g) or placebo for 1 and 3 months. No differences were found in traditional sperm parameters except for progressive sperm motility, with a significant increase after DHA ingestion after the first month with 1 or 2 g doses and after 3 months with 0.5 g of DHA. This effect was more evident in asthenozoospermic patients. No differences were found in any molecular semen parameter except oxidative stress, in which a slight benefit was observed after DHA treatment. In conclusion, this study support previous indications that highlight the importance of DHA supplementation as a means of improving sperm quality in asthenozoospermic men.

Keywords: DHA; DNA; Oxidative stress; Sperm; Spermatozoa.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Semen Analysis
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects*
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Docosahexaenoic Acids