Male factor infertility is said to affect about half of all couples experiencing difficulties conceiving.1 One of the most common reasons for reduced fertility in men relates to sperm morphology, count, and motility.
Scientists have been investigating various antioxidant herbs for their potential in boosting male reproductive functions. Carob is one of such herbs with abundant oxidant compounds that may potentially benefit infertile men.
The purpose of this 2020 clinical trial was to evaluate the benefits of carob on male fertility.
Authors of this trial involved 60 infertile men with oligozoospermia (decreased numbers of sperm per ejaculate), asthenospermia (decreased sperm motility), and teratospermia (abnormal sperm morphology). Men were between the ages of 20 and 45 and struggled with infertility for more than a year.
They were randomly divided into two groups. The first group took 7.5 mL of carob syrup twice a day, while the second group consumed 100 mg of vitamin E twice daily. The intervention lasted for three months.
Before and after the study, researchers conducted analyses of oxidative stress markers, hormone levels, and semen parameters, including semen count, morphology, and motility. Outcomes also included pregnancy rates.
After three months of taking carob syrup, researchers observed that men had significantly higher semen's quality, morphology, and motility parameters.
They also found higher pregnancy rates in the carob group (23%) in comparison to the vitamin E group (13%).
Additionally, the carob group showed higher testosterone and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) as well as lower malondialdehyde (MDA). For reference, TAC and MDA are biomarkers of oxidative stress.
What Does this Mean?
Published in the Reproductive Sciences journal, this clinical trial showed the benefits of consuming carob for men's fertility.
While the exact mechanism of action is not yet fully understood, carob's fertility-boosting effects are likely due to its antioxidant and polyphenol content that helps improve sperm motility and quality.
Authors of this trial suggest further studies to explore the use of antioxidant herbs for reproductive problems as well as to determine the best dosage and treatment duration using carob for male infertility.
- Reproductive Sciences, Comparison of the Effect of Ceratonia siliqua L. (Carob) Syrup and Vitamin E on Sperm Parameters, Oxidative Stress Index, and Sex Hormones in Infertile Men: a Randomized Controlled Trial, 2020
- JAMA. (2015). Male infertility. Retrieved August 25, 2021 from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2281706