Presence of zinc in semen is essential for normal functioning of male fertility, a recent study shows.
According to the study, deficiency of zinc affects sperm production as well as fertility capacity.
The study, “Impact of Seminal Plasma Zinc and Serum Zinc Level on Semen Parameter of Fertile and Infertile Males”, was done at the Center for Assisted Reproduction and the Biochemistry Department of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), says a press release.
Prof Parveen Fatima, chairperson of the hospital's infertility centre, was the lead author of the study.
The study was organised by INASP, an international development organisation, working with a global network of partners. It was conducted on 16 fertile and 69 infertile men. Their serum zinc and seminal plasma zinc levels were measured for analysis.
According to the press release, zinc is an essential element required for normal production of sperm cells. Its deficiency is one of the factors responsible for decreased testicular function in infertile males.
Zinc contributes to fertility through its significant effects on various semen parameters. Zinc in seminal plasma stabilises the cell membrane and nuclear chromatin (accumulation of complex proteins) that contain coded functions of life of the sperm cells, adds the release.
In the fertile group, all the parameters showed a positive relationship; and in the infertile, except for sperm morphology, all other parameters showed a negative relationship.
Sperm morphology -- the size and shape of sperm -- is one factor that is examined as part of a semen analysis to evaluate male infertility.
Dr Humaira Bushra of BSMMU, one of the co-authors of the study, said, “Zinc tablets are usually recommended, one tablet a day, for males to overcome the infertility problem. However, the dose varies for people, so we recommend consulting with physicians first."
The human body contains approximately two grams of zinc in total. The daily requirement of zinc per day is 10 micrograms for adult women and 12 micrograms for adult men.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that zinc deficiency affects one-third of the world's population (about two billion people) with the prevalence rates ranging from four to 73 percent in various regions.