The most common types of fertility supplements generally fall into two categories; supplements that consist of one primary ingredient and supplements that are a mixture of several. Vitamins C and E are both thought to enhance fertility, as are zinc and selenium. The herbal supplement chasteberry is also quite popular and has a good bit of science to back up its positive effects. There are dozens of herbal blends on the market that claim to help with conception, but most all of them have not undergone thorough testing.
The herb chasteberry is considered one of the more effective herbal fertility supplements. It may help to improve the production of estrogen, a hormone that is essential to fertility. In some cases, infertility is related to irregular menstrual cycles, and chasteberry may help women who suffer this irregularity.
Stanford University in the US state of California has conducted testing on selenium and vitamins E and C. All three of these supplements have antioxidant properties that may help to help preserve the egg. They do this by inhibiting free radicals and their effect on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) corruption. Often infertility is the result of DNA in the sperm or the egg that has suffered this damage, and these supplements can sometimes diminish these negative effects.
Zinc has been shown to influence sperm count and sperm behavior. Studies in China seemed to indicate that men who did not receive enough zinc in their daily diet had lower sperm count and sluggish sperm reaction. Most nutritionists agree that males should supplement their diets to increase their zinc levels. A good rule of thumb is considered to be around 12 milligrams per day.
Black cohosh, don quai, and red raspberry leaf are all herbal fertility supplements that are gaining in popularity. The first supplement is believed to correct menstrual cycles and has the added benefit of reducing pain associated with menstruation. Don quai is said to help the uterus support pregnancy, while red raspberry leaf is believed to strengthen the lining of the uterus. Evening primrose oil may also strengthen the uterus, but can be dangerous if taken immediately after ovulation because it may cause uterine contractions. These contractions could possibly lead to an early miscarriage.
Infertility may affect more than one out of every 12 couples, so medical research is continually striving to find ways to increase fertility. For those who do not want to try more drastic measures, fertility supplements may be a good first step. As with using any supplements, it is probably a good idea for individuals to use them with the supervision of a physician.