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Study Finds Male Fertility Supplement Claims Rarely Backed By Evidence

A study by a Cleveland Clinic doctor found claims by male fertility supplements are rarely backed by evidence. [Shutterstock]
pills and a bottle

The claims of male fertility pills are rarely backed by evidence, a recent study co-authored by a Cleveland Clinic doctor found.

Dr. Neel Parekh says men account for up to 50 percent of infertility among couples trying to conceive. Some of these men might turn to over-the-counter pills marketed as increasing fertility.

“They all sound tempting, but you have to be aware of a lot of these extravagant claims because it’s not necessarily what it seems,” he said.

The bottle might say it’s been tested in a clinical trial, but Parekh’s research, published in the journal Urology, shows that’s not always true.

The U.S. fertility supplements market is valued at over $400 million, according to Grand View Research, and male supplements often contain things like vitamin E and selenium.  

That’s a lot of money spent on something that probably won’t work, Parekh said. Many factors – like genetics, lifestyle, anatomy and hormones – can all play a role in male infertility, he said.

“We try to diagnose men when we can with one of those issues and those can be treated appropriately depending on what the underlying cause is,” he said.

If taken without a doctor’s supervision, male fertility pills could potentially have the opposite effect, or cause other health issues, like kidney stones.

lisa.ryan@ideastream.org | 216-916-6158