A recent Tel Aviv University study has found that the vitamin supplement DHEA—commonly utilized by older patients who are looking to prevent the onset of cognitive decline—may also help women improve their chances of conceiving.
DHEA is a hormone that naturally occurs in the body. People with diabetes, anorexia, kidney disease and those over the age of 30 tend to produce lower than normal levels of the hormone.
After collecting anecdotal evidence linking the over-the-counter supplement with fertility benefits, lead author Adrian Shulman and his colleagues tested DHEA in a randomized six-month trial.
For the study, the investigators recruited a group of women who were preparing to receive treatment for poor ovulation. All of the participants underwent conventional fertility therapy, however half were also given DHEA supplements.
After six months of treatment, a total of 23 percent of women who took the hormone supplements were able to conceive. In contrast, only 4 percent of control group participants were able to become pregnant.
Furthermore, mothers who took DHEA supplements were more likely to experience a healthy delivery than women who only underwent standard fertility therapy.
While Shulman and his colleagues are excited about the findings, they recommend that women who are looking to become pregnant consult their physician before taking DHEA.