The Effect of Selenium Therapy on Semen Parameters, Antioxidant Capacity, and Sperm DNA Fragmentation in Men with Idiopathic Oligoasthenoteratospermia

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2023 Dec;201(12):5671-5676. doi: 10.1007/s12011-023-03638-8. Epub 2023 Mar 23.


Idiopathic male infertility (IMI) remains challenging as the etiology of semen abnormalities is still unidentified. Sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF) has been suggested as a potential mechanism. Oral antioxidants including selenium have been tried for IMI with variable results. This study was undertaken to explore the effect of selenium therapy on semen parameters, antioxidant capacity, and SDF in infertile patients with idiopathic oligoasthenoteratospermia (OAT). Sixty-five infertile men with idiopathic OAT and fifty fertile controls were included in this prospective clinical study. Patients received selenium (200 μg/day) orally for 6 months. Seminal fluid parameters (WHO 5th criteria), total antioxidant capacity (TAC), catalase (CAT), and seminal SDF levels were assessed for all participants at the start of the study and after 6 months. Sperm concentration (P < 0.001), progressive motility (P < 0.001), and total motility (P < 0.01) significantly increased in patients after selenium therapy. Seminal TAC and CAT increased in patients post-therapy as compared to baseline values (P < 0.01). SDF levels significantly decreased (P < 0.001) in patients following selenium treatment in comparison to baseline values. SDF levels also correlated negatively with sperm progressive motility (r = - 0.44, P = 0.003) and total motility (r = - 0.48, P = 0.001). In conclusion, selenium therapy (200 μg/day) for 6 months increases sperm concentration, motility, seminal antioxidant capacity, and reduces SDF in patients with idiopathic OAT. Thus, selenium could be a promising therapy for men with IMI and may boost their fertility and fertility treatment outcomes.

Keywords: Antioxidant capacity; Idiopathic oligoasthenoteratospermia; Selenium; Sperm DNA fragmentation.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male* / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Selenium* / pharmacology
  • Selenium* / therapeutic use
  • Semen
  • Sperm Motility
  • Spermatozoa


  • Antioxidants
  • Selenium