Intake of Antioxidants in Relation to Infertility Treatment Outcomes with Assisted Reproductive Technologies

the EARTH Study Team

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12 Scopus citations


Background: Randomized trials of supplementation with antioxidant mixtures during infertility treatment show no benefit on pregnancy or live birth rate. However, the roles of individual antioxidants are poorly understood. We examined the association of baseline intake of vitamins A, C, E, and carotenoids with outcomes of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). Methods: We followed 349 women undergoing a total of 588 ART cycles for infertility treatment at the Massachusetts General Hospital. We assessed antioxidant intakes from food and supplements before treatment using a validated food frequency questionnaire. We used generalized linear mixed models to account for multiple ART cycles per woman while adjusting for confounding. Results: Mean (SD) age and body mass index were 35.1 years (4.0 years) and 24.1 kg/m2 (4.3 kg/m2), respectively. Total intake of vitamins A, C, and E was not associated with the probability of live birth. Women in the highest intake category of β-carotene from foods had a lower probability of live birth than women in the lowest intake quartile (50% vs. 22%; P trend = 0.03); for lutein and zeaxanthin, the probability for the highest intake group was 44% vs. 28% for the lowest. Intake of β-carotene from supplements and intakes of retinol and all other carotenoids were unrelated to live birth rates. Conclusions: We found unexpected inverse associations of β-carotene intake from foods and of lutein and zeaxanthin intake with live birth rates. Within the observed intake ranges, total consumption of vitamins A, C, and E before starting infertility treatment with ART was not associated with live birth rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-434
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology

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