Ashwagandha: Sperm Superfood?
Certain supplements and herbs have a long history of improving and optimizing health. Supplementation has been demonstrated to be beneficial for optimizing health. Studies have found that certain supplements may even improve fertility health. In this blog, we will discuss the benefits of Ashwagandha for males with fertility issues, specifically in terms of increasing sperm quality.
What is Ashwagandha?
Withania somnifera, commonly known as "Ashwagandha" or "Indian ginseng" is an essential therapeutic plant of Indian subcontinent regions. It is regularly used, alone or in combination with other plants for the treatment of various illnesses in Indian Systems of Medicine over the period of 3,000 years. Ashwagandha (W. somnifera) belongs to the genus Withania and the family Solanaceae. It comprises a broad spectrum of phytochemicals having a wide range of biological effects. W. somnifera has demonstrated various biological actions such as anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, anti-arthritic, anti-stress/adaptogenic, neuro-protective, cardio-protective, hepato-protective, and immunomodulatory properties. Furthermore, W. somnifera has revealed the capability to decrease reactive oxygen species and inflammation, modulation of mitochondrial function, apoptosis regulation and improve endothelial function. Withaferin-A is an important phytoconstituents of W. somnifera belonging to the category of withanolides been used in the traditional system of medicine for the treatment of various disorders. PMID: 32242751
W. somnifera has been widely used in traditional and ayurvedic medicines for the treatment of numerous problems related to health and vitality. The plant is a reservoir of diverse phytoconstituents like alkaloids, steroids, flavonoids, phenolics, nitrogen-containing compounds, and trace elements. Withanolides are the major alkaloids that render their anticancer potential due to their highly oxygenated nature. The plant is highly effective in combating various types of cancers viz. colon, mammary, lung, prostate, skin, blood, liver, and kidney. Previous studies depict that this plant is more effective against breast cancer followed by colon, lung, prostate, and blood cancer. Furthermore, from different clinical studies, it has been observed that the active constituents of the plant like withaferin-A, and withanolide-D have the least toxic effects. PMID: 33359918
How does Ashwagandha beneficial to semen or sperm for men who are experiencing fertility challenges?
To manage male infertility caused by hormonal imbalance, infections, and other predicaments, multifarious treatment strategies are emerging worldwide. Contemporary treatments, such as assisted reproductive techniques, are costly with low success rates of only 10-30%; however, herbal remedies are gaining more attention as an alternative or supplementary therapeutic modality for male infertility. The beneficial effects induced by oral intake of the roots of a small evergreen shrub, Withania sominifera (Ashwagandha) on the semen quality of infertile men have previously been studied. Oral intake of Ashwagandha roots has been found to inhibit lipid peroxidation, improve sperm count and motility, and regulate reproductive hormone levels. PMID: 29277366
Stress has been reported to be a causative factor for male infertility. Withania somnifera has been documented in Ayurveda and Unani medicine systems for its stress-combating properties. However, the limited scientific literature is available on this aspect of W. somnifera. Measuring various biochemical and stress parameters before and after treatment suggests a definite role of stress in male infertility and the ability of W. somnifera to treat stress-related infertility. Treatment resulted in a decrease in stress, improved the level of anti-oxidants, and improved overall semen quality in a significant number of individuals. The treatment resulted in pregnancy in the partners of 14% of the patients. PMID: 19789214
Withania somnifera inhibited lipid peroxidation and protein carbonyl content and improved sperm count and motility. Treatment of infertile men recovered the seminal plasma levels of antioxidant enzymes and vitamins A, C, and E and corrected fructose. Moreover, the treatment also significantly increased serum T and LH and reduced the levels of FSH and PRL. PMID: 19501822
Multiple studies suggest that Ashwagandha may be effective in improving sperm quality and motility, which are both essential for male fertility. This is one of the many supplements included in my product line, which has been proven to help improve fertility health for my clients.