Antioxidants have long been heralded for their ability to help women conceive, but according to a new review, the evidence supporting this claim is lacking.
Published in The Cochrane Library, the systematic review found that information was limited on the link between oral antioxidants and fertility.
“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 Obstetrics and Gynaecology at The University of Auckland.
Roughly a quarter of couples trying for a baby report difficulties in conceiving, and opt for preliminary fertility treatments such as dietary supplements including antioxidants, to increase their chances.
According to the Auckland University study, many of these antioxidant supplements are unregulated and there is limited evidence on their safety. The team analysed data from 28 trials on 3,548 women who were attending fertility clinics. They found that the antioxidants did not significantly increase their chances of becoming pregnant.
Only 14 of the trials reported adverse effects such as miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Women taking antioxidants experienced no more adverse effects compared to those who received placebos or standard treatment.