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Health & Nutrition
Zaheera Swing
Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD

How Ashwagandha Root Can Optimize Your Fertility

 

Have you or your partner struggled with fertility issues? You're not alone. Infertility is becoming increasingly more common, with around 11% of women and 9% of men experiencing fertility issues at some point within their lifetime in the United States. [1]

While there are many modern conventional options to elevate fertility and increase the likelihood of pregnancy, they can come with risks and side effects. That’s why many individuals find themselves interested in trying natural alternatives first, which often include herbal medicine. 

That's where Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera) comes in to save the day! Ashwagandha root has been used to support a variety of ailments in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years including infertility and low testosterone levels. 

The incredible thing about Ashwagandha is its ability to support both male fertility and female fertility by providing gentle yet effective support for the potential root cause imbalances that can lead to infertility. 

Keep reading to discover how an Ashwagandha supplement can have scientifically proven benefits to support your fertility on multiple levels!

 

 

 

 Ashwagandha & Male Fertility

 

 

First, it's important to understand the leading causes of male infertility. These typically include issues relating to sperm health, such as a low sperm count or changes in sperm motility. 

Research has shown a significant decline in male fertility over the years. For example, a meta-analysis of 61 studies worldwide reported a downward trend in sperm count and semen volume over the past 50 years [2]

The good news is that taking an Ashwagandha root supplement has been shown to support these factors!

Let's take a peek at the research that shows how Ashwagandha can help these special swimmers.

One pilot study presented some really impressive results…

Male participants with low sperm count were enrolled and randomized to either receive a full spectrum Ashwagandha root extract supplement for 90 days or a placebo. 

At the end of the study, it was found that men taking the Ashwagandha root supplement had a 167% increase in sperm count, a 53% increase in semen volume, and a 57% increase in sperm motility! [3]

A common issue that may also affect fertility and sexual performance is low testosterone levels. 

Testosterone is an essential male hormone required for overall vitality. Low testosterone levels can indirectly affect fertility by decreasing sex drive and contributing to erectile dysfunction.

Research shows that testosterone levels drop in response to stress due to rising levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Another important factor that has been linked to dropping testosterone levels is sleep deprivation. For instance, a study found that men’s testosterone levels dropped by an amazing 10-15% after just one week of only getting 5 hours of sleep per night.

Guess what? Ashwagandha works to improve testosterone levels by lowering cortisol, reducing stress, AND improving sleep quality!

 [4] [5] [6] [7]

 

 

 

Ashwagandha & Female Fertility

 

 

There are many potential causes of female infertility, including:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Thyroid issues (an underactive thyroid may prevent ovulation)
  • Fibroids 
  • Endometriosis
  • Certain medications

Ashwagandha is thought to support reproductive health in women by helping to correct hormonal imbalances. 

Interestingly, the main way it does this may actually be through its stress-relieving mechanisms! Ashwagandha is known as a powerful adaptogenic herb, which means it assists the body in adapting and coping better with stress. 

But how is this relevant to fertility?

You see, the release of stress hormones such as cortisol can disrupt the balance of certain hormones required for essential functions relating to fertility, such as ovulation.

One example relates to progesterone. Progesterone is a crucial hormone involved in female fertility since it helps to prepare the uterus for pregnancy. [7]

So here’s where it gets interesting, both progesterone and cortisol are synthesized in the body from the hormone known as pregnenolone. One theory suggests that when under stress, pregnenolone is diverted away from making progesterone and instead used for cortisol production. If this becomes chronic, it may result in lower levels of progesterone which could negatively affect the chance of getting pregnant.

Several studies have confirmed the interesting link between stress and fertility, showing that a woman’s day-to-day stress levels are linked to her chance of getting pregnant. For instance, women who had higher salivary biomarker levels of stress took 29% longer to get pregnant than those who were less stressed. [8]

 

Click here to learn: Ashwagandha Benefits For Women

 

 

The essential role of thyroid function in women’s fertility

 

Did you know that women are significantly more likely to develop a thyroid condition than men? It’s thought that around 2-4% of women of childbearing age struggling with hypothyroidism (low thyroid function). [9]

Low thyroid hormone levels or hypothyroidism can affect fertility on many different levels, such as ovulation and the menstrual cycle. Having low levels of the main thyroid hormone known as T4 (thyroxine) can lead to higher prolactin levels. High prolactin levels can impact ovulation by either no egg to release or an irregular egg release. 

Hypothyroidism can also shorten the second half of the menstrual cycle, which means a fertilized egg may not have enough time to attach to the wall of the womb. [10]

The good news is that Ashwagandha has been clinically proven to support healthy thyroid hormone levels. Once again, it’s thought that this benefit may be due to its stress-relieving effect since high cortisol levels can reduce the conversion of thyroid hormones into their most active form. 

An 8-week study on participants with hypothyroidism found that taking 600 mg of ashwagandha root extract daily led to significant improvements in thyroid levels compared to taking a placebo. [11]

 

 

Can Ashwagandha affect your menstrual cycle?

 

 

It’s been hypothesised that Ashwagandha may help to support a more regular menstrual cycle by significantly lowering levels of stress. Stress can have a powerful impact on the hormonal pathways within the body, which can lead to irregular periods or even cause you to miss some cycles altogether.

 

 

Can you take Ashwagandha while trying to conceive? 

 

An Ashwagandha supplement is generally considered safe to take before pregnancy if you’re trying to conceive. If you're uncertain, remember to always discuss any new supplements you're interested in adding to your routine with your primary healthcare practitioner. 

 

 

What is the best way to take Ashwagandha?

 

The best way to take Ashwagandha is by consuming an extract derived from the root of the plant, not the leaf. Ashwagandha root contains the special bioactive constituents of Ashwagandha known as withanolides in the right quantities for optimal results. 

To ensure safety and quality, it’s always best to get a dietary supplement that is produced in the USA and is third-party tested. 

Our Ashwagandha Root: 1300mg and Ashwagandha Root: 1950mg capsules provide an optimal dose of 100% organic Ashwagandha, which has been standardized to ensure it contains the perfect, safe dose of bioactive withanolides.

At NutriRise, we’ve also taken it a step further by formulating our premium Ashwagandha capsules with 15mg of black pepper extract per serving - a well-researched bioenhancer shown to support absorption and bioavailability so that you get the most out of this incredible ancient herb! 

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any dietary supplement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zaheera Swing
Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD
As a qualified Nutritional Therapist (BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD), Zaheera Swing has a deep passion for restoring balance and harmony to the body through the modalities of nutritional science, herbalism, and holistic lifestyle practices. Using the functional medicine model coupled with wisdom from ancient paradigms, she aims to provide insight into the underlying root causes of poor health and the holistic tools we can harness to enhance the well-being of mind, body, and spirit.
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