Selenium: its potential role in male infertility

29 May 2019

Currently, biomedical research is showing interest in the anti-oxidant activity of selenium. This could be due to compelling evidence that reported that oxidative damage to cells and cell membranes is one of the causative agents in the pathogenesis of many disease states including male infertility. Selenium is a trace element which may be found in soil, water and some foods and is considered to be an essential element which plays an active role in several metabolic pathways and is believed to perform several important roles in the human body. These roles include anti-oxidative activities at cellular level and participating in different enzyme systems. Selenium also serves as a vital component in the maintenance of muscle cell and red blood cell integrity, playing a role in the synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). It has also been reported that selenium is essential in the detoxification of toxic metals in the human system, foetal respiration and energy transfer reactions as well as in the production of sperm cells. It is thought that male infertility can be the result of a selenium deficiency as the absence of selenium in the testicular tissues induces degeneration which results in the active impairment of sperm motility as the first indication of impending infertility. This review paper investigates the role of selenium in male infertility.