Home remedies: Can herbs and supplements enhance fertility?

September 12, 2018 by From Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network

My husband and I have been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant. I've seen many ads for fertility herbs and supplements. Do they work?

Infertility can be a difficult problem to treat, and modern interventions—while sometimes effective—can be expensive. So it's not surprising that some people look to herbs and supplements as a possible alternative treatment.

However, there's no evidence in the medical literature that supports herbs or supplements as a treatment for infertility. The research on so-called fertility herbs and supplements is inconclusive and based on a few small studies. Some of the fertility herbs and supplements studied include:

- L-carnitine.

For male infertility, studies didn't show increased sperm production and motility in men who took a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine and L-carnitine. - Vitamin E.

One study found an association between taking E and improved sperm motility in men who had low sperm counts or poor sperm motility. Other studies found no improvement in male fertility when vitamin E is combined with vitamin C or selenium.

- Coenzyme Q10.

A few studies have suggested that coenzyme Q10 may improve sperm counts or motility, but this was not shown to improve the chances of getting pregnant. Another study suggests that coenzyme Q10 may improve egg quality in mice, but study results haven't been confirmed in humans. More research is needed to determine whether such findings lead to improved fertility.

- Folic acid.

Although some research suggests that taken with zinc may improve sperm counts, more research is needed to determine if this will have an impact on conception.

- Vitamin C.

Some preliminary research indicates that vitamin C might help with certain types of female infertility. More research is needed to clarify whether vitamin C can improve fertility in men and women.

While herbal supplements are often marketed as "natural," this doesn't mean these products are safe. Consider these important issues about :

- They have limited Food and Drug Administration regulation.

Herbs and supplements supplements are subjected to limited regulation by the Food and Drug Administration. The regulations are less strict than are those for prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

- They have a potential for drug interaction.

Conventional hormone and drug treatments for infertility are complex. It's not known how herbs or supplements might interact with them.

- They can have potentially serious side effects.

This is true especially when taken in larger doses. If you have side effects from a you take, stop taking it and contact your .

Talk to your health care provider about herbs or you take or plan to take. Until researchers more clearly define the risks and benefits of fertility herbs and supplements, conventional treatment for infertility appears to be the best option.

Explore further: Do men need sperm health supplements?

9 shares

Related Stories

Do men need sperm health supplements?

October 9, 2017
Infertility, defined as the inability of a couple to conceive after at least 12 months of regular, unprotected sex, affects about 15% of couples worldwide. Several factors can lead to infertility, but specific to men, infertility ...

HerbList app launched to provide information on herbal products

July 25, 2018
(HealthDay)—The National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has announced the launch of an app for easy access to research-based information on the safety and effectiveness ...

Antioxidant supplements fail to improve sperm quality in infertile men

July 2, 2018
Despite many study results suggesting that antioxidants have a positive effect on abnormal sperm parameters associated with male infertility, a large US clinical trial of 174 couples has found that an antioxidant formulation ...

Most popular vitamin and mineral supplements provide no health benefit, study finds

May 28, 2018
The most commonly consumed vitamin and mineral supplements provide no consistent health benefit or harm, suggests a new study led by researchers at St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto.

Nuts may boost male fertility: study

July 4, 2018
Eating nuts "significantly" boosted the number and health of sperm in young men in a scientific trial, researchers said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Research confronts 'yucky' attitudes about genetically engineered foods

September 18, 2018
Is a non-browning apple less "natural" than non-fat milk? In one case, people have injected something into apple DNA to prevent it from turning brown after it's cut. In the other, people used technology to remove something ...

Thinking beyond yourself can make you more open to healthy lifestyle choices

September 17, 2018
Public health messages often tell people things they don't want to hear: Smokers should stop smoking. Sedentary people need to get moving. Trade your pizza and hot dogs for a salad with lean protein.

Shifting focus from life extension to 'healthspan' extension

September 17, 2018
Clinicians, scientists and public health professionals should proudly "declare victory" in their efforts to extend the human lifespan to its very limits, according to University of Illinois at Chicago epidemiologist S. Jay ...

Survey finds 2M US teens are vaping marijuana

September 17, 2018
A school-based survey shows nearly 1 in 11 U.S. students have used marijuana in electronic cigarettes, heightening health concerns about the new popularity of vaping among teens.

Air pollution affects thyroid development in fetuses, research finds

September 17, 2018
Soot and dust alters thyroid development in fetuses before they are born in smoggy cities, raising concern about health impacts later in life, new USC research shows.

Witnessing violence in high school as bad as being bullied

September 17, 2018
Students who witness violence in school at age 13 are at later risk of psycho-social and academic impairment at age 15, according to a new longitudinal study by researchers at Université de Montréal with colleagues in Belgium ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

kimcraig277
not rated yet Sep 14, 2018
I want to use this opportunity to thank this great woman called mother Iya for what she has done for me and my family, after trying for 5 years. This great woman has brought happiness and joy back again to me and my family. mother Iya has used her great herbal medicine to help me to get pregnant with her powerful ways and after 7 days of applying her herbs.This is more than words i can say, at first i didn't believe it but today it is so true and all thanks goes to her. i will advice every one out there that has a similar issue of not able to conceive, to try mother Iya herbal remedy to contact her. thank you mother and forever remain a blessing in my life. Contact her today on her email nativeiyabasira@yahoo.com and phone number +441133201124

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.