DHEA and Infertility

DHEA is a substance I admittedly don’t know much about. However, because many of my fertility patients ask me about it, I am learning.

Here’s what I’ve go so far:

DHEA (5-Dehydroepiandrosterone) is a steroid and a hormonal precursor that is secreted from several places in our body: the adrenal glands, the brain and our sex organs (testes in males and ovaries in females). The reason why it is of interest to my fertility patients is that some recent studies have shown taking supplemental DHEA helps women produce more “fertile” and viable eggs.

On the internet, there is much talk about DHEA being a new sort of fountain of youth. But, what interests me the most is that some reproductive medicine researchers claim that taking DHEA not only can make one more youthful but it can also help women who are trying to conceive produce a larger amount of top quality eggs. The kind of eggs that lead to a healthy and successful pregnancy.

As well, some studies indicate that supplemental DHEA can also reduce defects associated with chromosomal abnormalities in embryos. This topic of research is particularly hot right now. In fact, New York’s own Center for Human Reproduction (CRH) just received a second official patent regarding the use of DHEA as a female infertility treatment and in reducing chromosomal abnormalities.

David H. Barad, MD – CHR’s Director of Clinical IVF and a second inventor listed on the patents – notes that “chromosomal abnormalities in embryos increase as women age. Therefore miscarriage rates rise in parallel. DHEA supplementation may, therefore, also be useful in older women with normal fertility who are trying to conceive on their own.” He adds that “the prenatal multivitamins of the future may also contain a little bit of DHEA.”

I’m not advising supplementation of DHEA at this point, as I am still gathering information about its use and functions. If you are interested in using DHEA, I recommend discussing it with your doctor. And, I’ll be sure to keep you all in the loop as I develop a better understanding of DHEA.

Right now, I am wondering: do we need to take supplemental DHEA?

I think living a better quality life–eating nutrient dense, organic foods, meditating, exercising and focusing on happiness–is the best medicine. And, it is this kind of healthy lifestyle that should support and maintain our bodies secretion and production of DHEA and that should keep us more youthful and fertile. Just my thoughts…

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