Ascorbic Acid Supplementation and Spermatogenesis in Nigerian Men

Maria O. Ebesunun*, a, Olayiwola. B. Shittub, Oluranti A Famootob, Emmanuel O. Agbedanac, John I. Anetorc
a Chemical Pathology, Obafemi Awolowo College of Health Sciences, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Sagamu Nigeria
b Surgery Dept, College of Medicine University of Ibadan Nigeria, Nigeria
4 Chemical Pathology, College of Medicine University of Ibadan Nigeria, Nigeria

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© 2009 Ebesunun et al;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Chemical Pathology Olabisi Onabanjo University, College of Health Sciences Sagamu Nigeria; Tel: +234-8055307626; Fax: (234)-2-2413545; E-mail:


Background: The role of ascorbic acid as an antioxidant nutrient in the maturation of sperm cells has received considerable attention. A previous study from our laboratory showed reduced seminal and plasma ascorbic acid in subfertile patients.

Method: Fifteen subfertile male patients mean age 36.4±0.9 years with sperm counts of 31.4±7, 08 x106 /cm3 were given 200mg/day dose of ascorbic acid as supplement for four weeks and ten highly fertile male mean age 35.6±1.7 years with sperm count of 50.9±10.3 x106/cm3 volunteers were selected as controls. The biochemical parameters and anthropometric measurements were determined using standard methods.

Result: Significant decreases were obtained in baseline sperm cell count (p<0.01), percentage (%) motility and %vitality (p<0.01), and the % of morphologically normal sperm cells (p<0.01) in the subfertile compared with the controls. The baseline plasma and seminal ascorbic acid concentrations were significantly reduced (p<0.001). The post-supplementation sperm cell count (p<0.001), % motility and %vitality (p<0.01) were significantly increased compared with the baseline values.

Conclusion: The enhanced reversal of poor semen quality and semen ascorbic acid status with dietary supplementation of vitamin C in subfertile is a pointer to its positive role in the maintenance of sperm cell integrity. Further work is therefore required to elucidate our findings.

Keywords: Ascorbic acid, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, semen, infertility subfertile.