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Fertility Herbs – Do They Work?

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Infertility / Fertility related image Photo: Getty Images

Mainstream fertility techniques can be very costly, so it’s understandable when people try to find alternatives for this process such as fertility herbs or supplements. But this option leads to the question, are these supplements and herbs worth the time and money? What does research say?

According to the Mayo Clinic, research has been done but not very extensively. Some of the fertility herbs and supplements studied are listed below:

L-carnitine – There is one study available that shows that when combined with acetyl-L-carnitine, L-carnitine may positively affect sperm motility in men. As a result, this produced a slight increase in pregnancies among the women participating in this study.

Vitamin E – Another study revealed that men with low sperm counts tend to have a high percentage rate of fertilization when taking vitamin E versus those taking a placebo.

For the supplements listed below, even though studies have been done, the Mayo Clinic stated that further testing is needed to confirm or clarify initial testing:

Coenzyme Q10 – Several studies suggest that this supplement may enhance sperm count or motility.

Folic acid – Additionally, more than one study has shown that folic acid increases sperm counts and motility.

Vitamin C – Lastly, there have been a small number of studies that have indicated that vitamin C may improve fertility in women who suffer from ovulation disorders.

It is easy to think that since these are "just herbs or supplements" that there is no danger, but caution is encouraged in this area. Why? First, there is very little regulation by the United States Food and Drug Administration when it comes to many of these products. Things may improve in the future, especially if more studies are done to confirm any positive or negative findings. Second, since some supplements may possibly have a negative interaction with conventional hormone and drug treatment for infertility, extra care should be taken. Consequently, while some herbs and supplements have shown indications that they may be helpful to some, the best and safest option is probably still conventional fertility treatment.

Resource: The Mayo Clinic

Dita Faulkner is a freelance writer is looking forward to her 4-day weekend!

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