Dietary supplementation with a novel l-carnitine multi-micronutrient in idiopathic male subfertility involving oligo-, astheno-, teratozoospermia: A randomized clinical study

Andrology. 2020 Sep;8(5):1184-1193. doi: 10.1111/andr.12805. Epub 2020 May 16.


Objective: To study the influence of a multi-component nutrient dietary supplement on sperm parameters and pregnancy rates in idiopathic male infertility (IMI) with oligo-, astheno-, and teratozoospermia.

Design: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, prospective, parallel arms (1:1 allocation ratio), multi-center clinical trial.

Settings: Eight urology/reproductive health clinical centers located in Ukraine.

Patients: Eighty-three males aged 21-50 years with IMI and at least 1 of 3 abnormal values: total sperm concentration < 15 million/ml or/and spermatozoa progressive motility < 32% or/and forms with normal morphology < 4%.

Intervention(s): Patients were randomly allocated verum test dietary supplement (TDS) containing l-carnitine/acetyl-l-carnitine, l-arginine, glutathione, co-enzyme Q10, zinc, vitamin B9 , vitamin B12 , selenium, or placebo 1 time daily for 6 months.

Main outcome(s): The primary outcome measure was the percentage of normal spermiograms (concentration ≥ 15 million/ml and ≥ 32% of spermatozoa with progressive motility and ≥ 4% of normal forms) at month 0, 2, and 4. The percentage of pregnancies served the secondary outcome endpoint. Differences between the groups were assessed in z-test for proportions.

Results: All males finished the study. At month 4, 29/42 (69.0%) males in the verum and 9/41 (22.0%) had normal spermiograms (P < .001). The percentage of spontaneous pregnancies in the verum group was greater than in the placebo group (10/42, 23.8% vs. 2/41, 4.9%, respectively, P = .017). There were no reportable supplement-associated adverse events.

Conclusion: Specific multi-nutrient combination l-carnitine/l-acetyl-carnitine, l-arginine, glutathione, co-enzyme-Q, zinc, folic acid, cyanocobalamin, and selenium can improve sperm quality in males with IMI and increase pregnancy rates.

Keywords: antioxidants; dietary supplement; idiopathic; male infertility.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carnitine / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / diet therapy*
  • Male
  • Micronutrients / pharmacology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Micronutrients
  • Carnitine