Science Update

New study demonstrates the effects of DHEA in women with infertility

According to a study published last week in Endocrine, researchers demonstrated the effects of DHEA supplementation on sexual function in premenopausal women with infertility.

DHEA is mainly secreted by the adrenal cortex and is known to influence female fertility, as well as functioning of the cardiovascular and central nervous systems.

This study included 50 premenopausal women with infertility. Each subject completed female sexual function index (FSFI) questionnaires and had a comprehensive endocrine evaluation at baseline, 4 weeks, and at 8 weeks. They each consumed 25 mg of oral micronized DHEA three times a day for the duration of the study.

Results showed an increase in all androgen levels and a decrease in FSH levels. The FSFI score for all subjects increased by 7%. Scores for desire increased 17%, arousal increased 12%, and lubrication improved by 8%. Women who had the lowest starting FSFI scores had a 34% increase after DHEA supplementation. This demonstrates the effects of DHEA supplementation on improving sexual function in premenopausal women with infertility.

There was also an interesting study published last year demonstrating the effects of DHEA supplementation in women with poor ovarian response during assisted reproductive technology. The study included 62 women who were diagnosed with poor ovarian response or underwent in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Thirty-four women took 50 mg of DHEA daily for 3 months.

The DHEA supplementation had a positive impact in nearly all the parameters measured. These included hormonal profiles, the quality of the endometrium, the number of oocytes retrieved, the quality of embryos, and pregnancy and live birth rates.

The underlying dysfunction associated with infertility is often multifactorial. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have also 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 should try their best to minimize exposure to these compounds.

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

 By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS


Source: Kushnir VA, Darmon SK, et al. Effects of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation on sexual function in premenopausal infertile women. Endocrine. 2018 Oct 11. doi: 10.1007/s12020-018-1781-3.