One of my specialty treatments is Acupuncture for Infertility – both men and women. It works amazingly well. So well, in fact, that many fertility MD’s refer me their clients.
Acupuncture is often done alone, or sometimes in conjunction with nutritional considerations, homeopathy, and of course, Chinese herbs. Did you know that in China, acupuncture is seldom done alone – but is most often done in conjunction with Chinese herbs, and nutritional and dietary changes?
The article below is a nice summary of some of the latest research into nutritional supplements that should be taken along with your acupuncture.
And as a reminder – I’ve had quite a few women attribute the success of their fertility treatments to their acupuncture, nutrition, Chinese herbs and homeopathy!!!
Enjoy the article….
By Alan R. Gaby, M.D.
This brief review discusses certain dietary factors and nutritional supplements that may play a role in preventing and treating infertility. This topic is discussed in greater detail in my textbook, Nutritional Medicine.1
Celiac disease can cause infertility in both men and women. In patients with infertility associated with celiac disease, consumption of a gluten-free diet frequently restores fertility. Observational studies suggest that excessive consumption of caffeine, alcohol, or trans fatty acids can lead to delayed or impaired conception.
Nutritional Supplements: General Considerations
Spermatozoa are highly sensitive to oxidative stress, because of their high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids and their inability to repair membranes. The production of excessive amounts of oxygen-derived free radicals is thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of infertility by promoting sperm cell dysfunction. The improvement in fertility associated with the use of various antioxidants (such as zinc, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, and selenium) may be explainable in part by a reduction in the amount of free-radical damage to spermatozoa.
Zinc deficiency can lead to low testosterone levels and impaired sperm motility. In most, but not all, clinical trials, zinc supplementation (usually 45-60 mg per day) increased sperm count or motility in infertile men and resulted in a relatively high rate of pregnancies.2
Zinc supplementation appeared to be most effective for men with low testosterone levels. Long-term zinc supplementation should in most cases be accompanied by a copper supplement (1-4 mg per day, depending on the zinc dose), in order to prevent zinc-induced copper deficiency.
Spermatozoa contain large concentrations of arginine. In addition, L-arginine has been reported to increase sperm motility in vitro. Although arginine is synthesized by the body, a relative deficiency of this amino acid could occur in tissues that rapidly synthesize proteins (such as the testes), if arginine synthesis is suboptimal and the diet is marginally low in protein. In most uncontrolled trials, administration of L-arginine in doses of 500-4,000 mg per day increased sperm count and motility in men with varying degrees of oligospermia.3,4
L-Carnitine and Acetyl-L-Carnitine
Carnitine is present in high concentrations in spermatozoa and semen, and plays a role in stimulating sperm motility. This stimulatory effect appears to require the conversion of carnitine to acetylcarnitine. The carnitine concentration of semen has been found to be low in individuals with low sperm motility. In clinical trials, supplementation with L-carnitine or L-carnitine plus acetyl-L-carnitine improved sperm motility, and in some studies increased sperm counts, in men with asthenozoospermia (low sperm motility) or oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (low sperm count, poor motility, and abnormal morphology). This treatment also increased pregnancy rates in couples with infertile men.5 Treatment regimens have included 3 g per day of L-carnitine by itself or the daily combination of 2 g of L-carnitine and 1 g of acetyl-L-carnitine.
Vitamin C has been shown to enhance sperm motility and to protect sperm DNA from oxidative damage. Supplementation with 1 g per day of vitamin C reversed infertility due to nonspecific sperm agglutination in petrochemical workers.6
In addition, treatment with 750 mg per day of vitamin C increased serum progesterone levels and increased the pregnancy rate in women with infertility associated with a luteal phase defect.7
In a study of infertile men with asthenozoospermia, supplementation with 100 µg per day of selenium for 3 months increased sperm motility and increased the probability of conception.8
In women with unexplained infertility or a history of early miscarriage, selenium supplementation appeared to promote successful pregnancies in some cases. The dosage used was 200 µg per day for 2 months, followed by 50 µg per day.9
Vitamin E supplementation (alone or in combination with selenium or vitamin C) has been found in some, but not all, studies to be of benefit for infertile men.10
Vitamin E may work by inhibiting free-radical-induced damage to spermatozoa. Most studies used 200-600 IU per day of vitamin E.
Twenty-two infertile men with idiopathic asthenozoospermia received 200 mg per day of coenzyme Q10 for 6 months. After 6 months, a significant increase in sperm cell motility was seen compared with baseline.11
Similar results were seen in a double-blind trial conducted by the same research group.12
The investigators suggested that the beneficial effect of coenzyme Q10 may be due to its role in mitochondrial bioenergetics and its antioxidant properties.
In case reports, 7 previously infertile women became pregnant within 28 weeks after starting iron supplementation (35 mg per day) for iron deficiency or borderline-low iron status. Prior to treatment, their serum ferritin levels ranged from 14 to 40 ng/ml. The women also received 200 mg per day of vitamin C to enhance iron absorption.13