The African continent has wide, varied, and rich plant diversity due to its climate. Some of these plants and their products have received tremendous attention due to their benefits in treating and managing ailments that plagues humanity. Red palm oil (RPO) is one of such natural products that have immense nutritional value with ability to ameliorate cardiac- and reproductive-related disorders. In this review article, the current knowledge on the potential of RPO as a phytomedicine to lessen or even prevent the negative impact of obesity on general health status and male fertility was evaluated. This study was done using electronic databases such as PubMed, Scopus, Science Direct, Google Scholar and Web of Science. The study revealed some controversies and inconsistent reports on the effect of RPO on obesity and male fertility which needs further research using appropriate experimental models of obesity. Obesity is known to disrupt male fertility by causing changes to the hypothalamic- pituitary-gonadal axis, thus impairing steroidogenesis and spermatogenesis. As spermatozoa are extremely sensitive towards oxidative stress, a carefully balanced daily supplementation of normal diet with antioxidant-rich RPO might be useful to protect spermatozoa and preserving male fertility. RPO was shown to be useful to protect against or ameliorate toxin- or medical condition-induced male infertility. Also, RPO is packed with powerful antioxidants like carotenoids and vitamin E which helps to prevent cell damage. However, its role in obesity prevention remains a debate.
Part of the book: Elaeis guineensis