"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 d
Contact: Michelle Brandt
Stanford University Medical Center