Fertility hormones and vitamin E in active and passive adult male smokers in Calabar, Nigeria

Bassey IE, Gali RM, Udoh AE


Smoking is an extremely lethal act and is associated with many illnesses. Lately, major concerns that passive smokers face the same health risks as (if not higher than) active smokers have been raised. Some studies have shown that active smoking is associated with low serum levels of vitamins and testosterone. Are these facts also valid in passive smokers? This study investigated the levels of cotinine, testosterone, follicle stimulating (FSH), Luteinizing Hormone (LH), prolactin and vitamin E in male active smokers and compare these with male passive smokers. Serum levels of cotinine, testosterone, FSH, LH, prolactin and vitamin E were determined in 60 cigarette smokers, 60 passive smokers and 60 non-smokers recruited from Calabar metropolis. The hormones were assayed using ELISA and Vitamin E using high performance liquid chromatography. Socio-demographic and anthropometric indices were obtained and data analyzed using PAWstatistic 18. Cotinine levels were significantly (p<0.05) higher in active smokers than in passive smokers and controls. Vitamin E and testosterone were significantly lower in both active (p<0.05) and passive smokers (p<0.05) when compared to non-smokers. The FSH of the active smokers was significantly higher (p = 0.034) than that of the controls while the passive smokers had the highest LH values (p = 0.0001). However, there were no significant variations in the prolactin levels among the three groups. Both passive and active smoking depletes serum vitamins E and lowers testosterone levels. Lower serum vitamin E is pointer to increased oxidative stress which in conjunction with lower testosterone levels may lead to increased incidence of infertility in both active and passive male smokers.

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