The respected Cochrane Library conducted the review of 28 trials involving a total of 3,548 women and concluded antioxidant-consuming women fared no better than those on standard treatments or placebo when it came to fertility improvements.
“There is no evidence in this review that suggests taking an antioxidant is beneficial for women who are trying to conceive,” said lead researcher, Marian Showell, from the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
They said the quality of the trials was either ‘low’ or ‘very low’ and the review results confounded somewhat by the number of different antioxidants used in the experiments.
“We could not assess whether one antioxidant was better than another,” said Showell.
It is estimated about 40-50% of couples seeking children experience fertility difficulties that could be attributed to women.
Typical problems include ovulatory disorders, poor egg quality, fallopian tube damage and endometriosis.
Some research has shown antioxidants can reduce the oxidative stress brought on by these conditions.
14 of the trials reported on adverse effects such as miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
2013, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD007807. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007807
‘Antioxidants for female subfertility’
Authors: Showell MG, Brown J, Clarke J, Hart RJ.