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Fertility Supplement Looks Promising

Unlike Other Fertility Treatments, No Risk of Multiple Births
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WebMD Health News

Nov. 24, 2003 -- FertilityBlend -- a mixture of herbs, vitamins, and minerals -- looks promising to help women get pregnant without the risk of multiple births.

FertilityBlend is already available in Europe. Studies there on the main ingredient, chasteberry, have suggested that it helps restore the balance of hormone levels -- progesterone, specifically -- and improve fertility, writes lead researcher Lynn M. Westphal, MD, with the gynecology/obstetrics department at Stanford University School of Medicine. She presented results of the study at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.

The researchers cite several studies linking the components of FertilityBlend to an improvement in fertility.

This new fertility blend includes:

  • Chasteberry -- an herb shown to restore progesterone balance and increase pregnancy rates in European studies
  • Folic acid -- a vitamin that helps prevent birth defects
  • Green tea and vitamin E -- antioxidants that may promote reproductive wellness by counteracting damage to eggs and reproductive organs from caffeine, drugs, and alcohol
  • L-arginine -- an amino acid that helps improve circulation to the reproductive organs, which may enhance egg development and embryo implantation
  • Vitamins B-6 and B-12, iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc -- which have been shown to improve female fertility.

Unlike fertility drugs, FertilityBlend decreases the risk of multiple fetuses, writes Westphal.

"FertilityBlend may enhance reproductive health as an integral part of an overall healthy lifestyle," she says in a news release. "This seems to be a very reasonable alternative, and I would recommend it to my patients."

One of the study's researchers is the director of research and development of The Daily Wellness Co., which manufactures FertilityBlend.

Over One-Third Got Pregnant

In their study, researchers enrolled 30 women who had tried unsuccessfully -- for six to 36 months -- to conceive. Half the group got FertilityBlend for six months. The other 15 women got a placebo. Neither the researchers nor the participants were aware of which treatment the women received.

Three months later, the supplement group had increased progesterone levels, which can affect basal body temperature levels -- and, ultimately, fertility. Also, there was a significant increase in the average number of days with optimum basal temperatures, suggesting an increase in cycles with ovulation.

The placebo group did not show any notable changes.

After five months, five of the 15 women taking FertilityBlend were pregnant, compared with none of the placebo-group women.

May Be Something to It

A number of research centers are looking at alternatives to fertility drugs, including antioxidants.

An NIH-funded study at Emory University is looking at vitamins E and C on endometriosis, says Celia E. Dominguez, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Center for Reproductive Medicine at Emory University.

"We have seen decreases in pain scores, and it appears that there may be some improvement in pregnancy rates," Dominguez tells WebMD. "These vitamins might help reduce inflammatory processes that might be preventing the egg and sperm from joining."

She would like more gold-standard studies like Westphal's, which support use of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins as a "fertility drug" for women, says Dominguez.

"All these companies are trying to come up with their own little chemistry, the best combination to improve the possibility of egg and sperm meeting each other and possibility of fertilization," she tells WebMD. "But which combination is more effective, that's the question."

A study looking at FertilityBlend formulated for men is under way to determine its effect on sperm concentration and mobility, according to the researchers.

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