Science Update

New review demonstrates the role of ashwagandha in male infertility

According to a review published last month in Reproductive Biomedicine, researchers demonstrate ashwagandha as a therapeutic modality for male infertility.

Ashwagandha is protective against oxidative stress, and this protection can help to improve sperm quality. In addition, it mitigates hormone imbalance, preventing a stress-induced cortisol-mediated decrease in testosterone levels, improving male infertility.

This review looked at human clinical studies with ashwagandha using dosing ranges from 675 mg up to 5 grams a day over a 90 day period. As a result, there was an increase in sperm count, semen volume, and sperm motility compared to baseline.  

Male infertility has been associated with toxicity, oxidative damage to sperm, radiation exposure, poor nutritional status or nutritional deficiencies, heavy metal or environmental toxicity, systemic disorders, hormonal imbalances, xenobiotic exposure, hepatic cirrhosis, genito-urinary infections, cigarette smoking, age-related decline, and obesity.

Each patient’s biochemical individuality exerts a major influence on his health. Thus, it is important to perform a comprehensive evaluation in these patients, which may include organic acids, environmental profiles, and a nutrient and toxic element screening. Providing adapatogenic support based on organic acid testing is a key strategy, as this test shows the medullary effect on the catecholamines. If someone has elevated catecholamines, a tonifying adaptagenic formula should be considered, combining calming botanicals with adapatogens.

These tests will also assess important detoxification markers. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been linked to infertility. These EDCs mimic, block or interfere with the body's natural hormones and as a result, EDCs alter the way cells proliferate and develop. Patients need to do their best to minimize further exposure.

There is significant evidence of the importance of diet and nutritional supplementation in maintaining detoxification pathways. These nutrients include milk thistle, NAC, glutathione, and calcium D-glucurate.

 Additional Nutritional Support for Infertility

  • L-Arginine/Citrulline: required for spermatogenesis and hormone secretion. Numerous studies have shown increased sperm count and motility.
  • L-Carnitine: serves as an energy substrate for spermatozoa; antioxidant properties and provides energy to the testicles and spermatozoa.
  • Zinc: found in high concentrations within the prostate, testes, and semen. It is involved in every aspect of male reproduction, including hormone metabolism, spermatogenesis, and sperm motility.


By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Sengupta P, Agarwal A, et al. Role of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) in the management of male infertility. Reprod Biomed Online. 2017 Dec 7. pii: S1472-6483(17)30625-9. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2017.11.007.