A rigorous U.S. government-led study found that zinc and folic acid supplements don’t boost men’s fertility, despite promotional claims that they do.
The mineral and the vitamin are important for sperm production and are found in many common foods. Previous studies on whether over-the-counter supplements might boost sperm health have had conflicting results.
“There were a few small trials that showed a benefit, but we needed some definitive evidence that this would work,” said lead author Enrique Schisterman, a researcher at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed it didn’t.
Schisterman called the results disappointing. Supplements cost about $60 a month compared with tens of thousands of dollars many couples spend on invasive medical treatment for infertility.