Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fertility herbal supplement sprouts promising results in Stanford pilot study

20.04.2004


A researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine says a small study shows promise for a nutritional supplement that may help boost fertility in women who have difficulty conceiving. Initial results indicate that of the women who took the supplement, one-third became pregnant after five months.



"This was a small, pilot study but if the findings hold up in a larger trial, the supplement may be a feasible treatment for some women," said Lynn Westphal, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, whose study results appear in the April issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine.

One in six couples in the United States has trouble conceiving, Westphal said. The possible culprits include endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, male factor infertility and irregular menstrual cycles, among others. Treatments vary, and she said a growing number of patients have expressed interest in pursuing alternative therapies before taking more aggressive routes such as in vitro fertilization. Despite this, little research has been done on the benefit of a pre-pregnancy supplement to optimize fertility health.


"There’s not a lot of work in this area but it’s an important one," she said. "Many women are interested in avenues aside from aggressive infertility treatment. If we can find an effective way to treat patients less invasively, it would be a great benefit."

The supplement she studied, marketed as "FertilityBlend," contains chasteberry (an herb that has been shown to improve ovulation and restore progesterone balance, which can be skewed in women having difficulty conceiving), L-arginine (an amino acid that improves circulation to the reproductive organs), green tea and numerous vitamins and minerals.

To study the effects of FertilityBlend, Westphal recruited 30 volunteers who had tried unsuccessfully to conceive for six to 36 months. The women ranged in age from 24 to 46; some had been tested and diagnosed with a particular disorder that hindered their fertility while others fell into the category of "unexplained" infertility.

During the double-blind study, the women were randomly assigned to take the supplement or a placebo three times a day. Changes in progesterone levels, basal body temperatures and menstrual cycles were then monitored. After three months, the supplement group had an increased progesterone level and a significant increase in the average number of days in their menstrual cycle in which they had basal temperatures above 37 degrees Celsius, which indicates better ovulation, Westphal said. The placebo group, meanwhile, showed no notable changes. After five months, five of the 15 supplement participants were pregnant and none of the 15 women on placebo were. The pregnancies resulted in four healthy babies; one woman miscarried.

"I was definitely skeptical before the study, but the results are promising," said Westphal, adding that she believes the chasteberry component of the supplement most likely played the biggest role in boosting fertility.

Westphal said she considers the supplement a good option for younger women who choose to forego or postpone aggressive treatment. However, she encouraged women over the age of 35 who have been trying to get pregnant for more than six months to get a full evaluation from their physicians.

Based on its promising findings, Westphal’s pilot study has been expanded to a larger multicenter study. She is currently enrolling women ages 18 to 43 who have been trying to get pregnant for six to 36 months and have abnormal menstrual cycles. She is also looking for men to enroll in a separate study on FertilityBlend for Men, a supplement containing L-carnitine (an amino acid that can improve sperm function) and ferulic acid (an antioxidant that has shown to improve sperm quality). Interested volunteers should call (650) 498-7911.


The study was funded by the Asian Cultural Teaching Foundation and the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Daily Wellness Co., which manufactures FertilityBlend. Westphal’s Stanford colleague on the study was Mary Lake Polan, MD, PhD, who serves on the scientific advisory board of Daily Wellness.

Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. For more information, please visit the Web site of the medical center’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs at http://mednews.stanford.edu.

Michelle Brandt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://mednews.stanford.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht When a fish becomes fluid
17.12.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

nachricht Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When a fish becomes fluid

17.12.2018 | Studies and Analyses

Progress in Super-Resolution Microscopy

17.12.2018 | Life Sciences

How electric heating could save CO2 emissions

17.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>