The enormous expense of many prescription fertility treatments leads some people to investigate over the counter fertility drugs and nutritional supplements. The science regarding these treatments is rather slender at this time, but there may be some remedies worth investigating.
Many fertility supplements include chasteberry (vitex agnus-castus) as one of their primary ingredients. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is some indication that chasteberry may have some ability to increase fertility, but more research is needed. The National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is funding more research into chasteberry. One double-blind, placebo-controlled study carried out at Standford University on the fertility supplement FertilityBlend, manufactured by the Daily Wellness Co., which contains chasteberry as well as green tea extracts and L-arginine, did provide some evidence of increased fertility in the women taking the supplement when compared to the women in the placebo group.
Many fertility supplements include ginkgo and promote its fertility boosting power. However according to the Mayo Clinic, while there is some indication that ginkgo may help alleviate premenstrual symptoms in women, there is no evidence of it boosting fertility.
Select studies have shown that vitamin C supplements may increase fertility in certain women, but more studies are needed for clear results.
According to the NIH, there is some indication that ginseng may have some ability to treat erectile dysfunction, but they recommend more testing.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine and L-Carnitine
A supplemental combination of acetyl-L-carnitine and L-carnitine can cause an increase in sperm motility, increasing male fertility. Another study suggested that coenzyme Q10 and folic acid may help increase both sperm counts and motility.
A Word of Warning
Both over the counter drugs and supplements are regulated by the FDA, but since supplements are categorized as dietary supplements rather than as drugs, they are subject to much less stringent oversight. Supplement manufacturers are not required to provide the FDA with any evidence that their products are either effective or safe. Supplements can also interact with any prescription medications you may be taking. Consult your physical before beginning a supplement regimen.
“A nutritional supplement for improving fertility i… [J Reprod Med. 2004] – PubMed result.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2010. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15134155.
“Chasteberry [NCCAM Herbs at a Glance].” National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine [NCCAM] – nccam.nih.gov Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2010. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/chasteberry/.
“Dietary Supplements: Background Information.” Office of Dietary Supplements – HOME. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2010. http://dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov/factsheets/dietarysupplements.asp.
“Fertility herbs: Do they enhance fertility? – MayoClinic.com.” Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living – MayoClinic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fertility-herbs/AN01797.
“Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba L.): Evidence – MayoClinic.com.” Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living – MayoClinic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ginkgo-biloba/NS_patient-ginkgo/DSECTION=evidence.
“Ginseng: MedlinePlus Supplements.” National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2010. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-ginseng.html.