When it comes to getting pregnant, it seems like there's no shortage of new products that claim to help you achieve your dream. I was reminded of this when I read of a new product, BeeFertile, a natural supplement that combines essential oils, vitamins, minerals and bee products. Royal jelly has a long history as a folk remedy; the jelly is a special secretion made by honey bees and fed to future generations in order to cultivate the conversion of a drone to a fertile queen bee. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work as well in humans and has been linked to severe allergic reactions, asthma and even in rare situations death. Analysis of this insect-derived chemical product reveals that it is little more than vitamins and other healthy nutrients. I think the lesson here is that good nutrition is still important, which is why it is a good idea to start a prenatal vitamin at least three months prior to trying to conceive.
Last year I wrote about royal jelly and other supplements that claim to enhance fertility in a blog post. Here are a couple of highlights:
DHEA: While there is limited data that DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone, a hormone) may cause a slight increase in the number of eggs produced (in a clinical trial the average participant went from producing three eggs to four) there was not any demonstration of an improved pregnancy rate. From a practical standpoint, since it required 90 days of the supplement prior to undergoing IVF (in vitro fertilization), these patients may have produced even more eggs by going through two or three cycles of IVF instead. Most important, without a measureable improvement in pregnancy rate, it is premature to suggest that this may improve egg quality. There are ongoing studies which may provide insight as to whether there are some women who can benefit from this treatment, but at this point the question remains unresolved. In fact, the available research is given a “C” grade indicating “there is unclear scientific evidence for its use.”
CoEnzyme Q10: A well researched suggestion that has been shown to optimize the energy storage/utilization of the egg is through supplementation with CoEnzyme Q10. This has not been considered a necessary supplement since your body can manufacture this on its own. However, the human egg has the greatest energy demand of any cell in the body; and its needs go up considerably during the process of follicle growth. It was therefore theorized that supplementing with CoQ10 could improve egg quality. Early studies have confirmed this theory.
For more on supplements, including pine bark extract and omega-3 fatty acids, check out The Greene Guide https://thegreeneguide.wordpress.com
Robert Greene, M.D., FACOG, is a physician at the CNY Fertility Center in central New York and the author of Perfect Hormone Balance for Fertility, Perfect Hormone Balance for Pregnancy, and Happy Baby, Healthy Mom Pregnancy Journal. You can read Dr. Greene's blog, The Greene Guide, and follow him on Twitter.