Ashwagandha, an ancient Ayurvedic herb, has shown potential benefits for both male and female infertility. In men, its supplementation can improve sperm concentration, motility, and hormonal balance. For women, it may support reproductive health by correcting hormonal imbalances. Additionally, it's known to positively influence thyroid function, which can indirectly impact fertility. Ashwagandha's role in enhancing fertility seems to stem largely from its adaptogenic properties, helping the body manage stress and supporting overall hormonal harmony.
Have you or your partner struggled with infertility 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. 
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 ayurvedic herbs.
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 evidence based 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 .
The good news is that taking an Ashwagandha root supplement has been shown to have beneficial effects on male infertility, improving sperm concentrations and hormonal balance.
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 on Ashwagandha for male fertility…
Men with low sperm count (oligospermic males) 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, a semen analysis 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! These results demonstrate an impressive improvement in overall semen quality 
A common issue that may also affect fertility, sexual function 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 a lower level of testosterone 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.
So, guess what? Ashwagandha is an herbal supplement that works to improve serum testosterone levels by lowering cortisol, reducing stress and anxiety, AND improving sleep quality!
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)
- Certain medications
Ashwagandha is thought to support reproductive health in women by helping to correct hormonal imbalances and balancing the HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal)
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 responses.
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. 
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 serum hormone levels of stress took 29% longer to get pregnant than those who were less stressed. 
Additional, anecdotal evidence suggests that Ashwagandha may improve sexual function in 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). 
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. 
The good news is that Ashwagandha is a medicinal plant that 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. 
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 get the maximum effects of 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 root extract of 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 all the benefits of Ashwagandha you've been looking for!
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider before consuming Ashwagandha or starting any dietary supplement to ensure safety and efficacy.