Researchers devise scoring system for male fertility supplements

The new research was published in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology​.  It was the work of researchers associated with two universities and a hospital in Italy.

The researchers noted that there are a several different issues relating to male infertility such as low sperm motility, DNA damage, genital tract infections and inflammation and others.  In addition, more that 20 different ingredients have been put forward by product developers all claiming to help deal with these issues.

Scoring system for ingredients, finished products

To try to put all of those variables together, the researchers came up with a scoring system for ingredients that was applied to single ingredient male fertility products in a previous paper​.  The scoring system, which is based on the results of trials found in a literature search, ranked the ingredients based on whether multiple trials had shown a positive effect (rank A, numerical score 5), if only one paper showed a positive effect (B,3), if trials showed both positive and null or negative effects (C,1) or if the trials showed no or only negative effects (D,-1).

To apply this methodology to multi ingredient supplements, the researchers came up with a weighted mathematical formula to recognize those formulas that used only or mostly the best scoring ingredients.  

For evidence of the purported efficacy of the ingredients the researchers found 164 studies that matched their parameters.  They then applied the scores and the weighted formula to 24 multi ingredient dietary supplements they found for sale on the Italian market that were marketed for male infertility.  They then ranked those supplements on a scale with the top rank corresponding to those products likely to be effective, those that might possibly be effective and those unlikely to have a positive effect. 

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