Aim: Many studies have implicated oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of infertility causing diseases of the female reproductive tract. The aim of this study was to review the current literature on the effects of antioxidant therapy and to elucidate whether antioxidant supplementation is useful to prevent and/or treat infertility and poor pregnancy outcomes related to various obstetric and gynecologic conditions.
Methods: Review of recent publications through Pubmed and the Cochrane data base.
Results: Antioxidant supplementation has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and restore redox balance in patients with PCOS. Supplementation with RU486, Curcuma longa, melatonin, caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) and catechins may induce remission and halt disease progression in endometriosis. Selenium therapy may improve pregnancy rates in unexplained infertility. Currently there is no evidence to substantiate the use of antioxidants to prevent or treat preeclampsia. Up to 50-60% of recurrent pregnancy loss may be attributable to oxidative stress. Observational studies have confirmed a link between antioxidant-poor diet and recurrent pregnancy loss.
Conclusion: Although many advances are being made in the field of antioxidants therapy, there is a need for further investigation using randomized controlled trials within a larger population to determine the efficacy and safety of antioxidant supplementation.