Withania – Male Infertility Hopeful

Indian researchers recently investigated the effect of a three month treatment with Withania on semen quality in infertile and fertile men.  Shukla KK et al, Reprod Biomed Online 2011 Mar 7 (epub ahead of print);     Pesch S et al, Theriogenology 2006 Jul 15;66(2):307-313.  

A control group of 75 normal healthy and fertile men and 75 infertile men were recruited from a urology outpatient department.  The control (fertile) group comprised age-matched men with evidence of recent paternity or recent initiation of pregnancy, and exhibiting a normal semen profile.  Three groups each of 25 men participated in the infertile men category, one group with normal semen profile but infertility of unknown cause; one group with a low sperm count but normal motility and morphology; and the final group with normal sperm count and morphology but low motility.

Each subject was prescribed 5 grams per day of Withania root powder, taken orally with milk for the three month period.  Semen was collected for analysis pre- and post-Withania treatment, from both the fertile and infertile groups of men.

Following Withania treatment, sperm concentration increased and motility improved significantly in all three subgroups of infertile men.  The semen volume also increased significantly but only in the first 2 subgroups.  Withania also increased the levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and glutathione in seminal plasma, as well as increasing serum testosterone levels.

Prior to Withania treatment, sperm death was significantly higher and levels of essential nutrients (zinc, iron, copper) for sperm health were lower in all groups of infertile men.  Withania treatment, significantly reduced sperm death in the first 2 groups and increased nutrient levels in the 2nd & 3rd group. The levels were increased to the levels measured in the fertile group.

This study has provided them with convincing evidence, that consuming the equivalent of 5 grams dried Withania root powder per day, over at least a 3 month period, can have a number of benefits on semen quality and fertility in men.  Further studies involving larger numbers of participants are now being looked at.

For those of you who are needing to get started with your Withania treatment click here & then choose Withania in the drop down menu.

Withania has many other wonderful properties as below:

Withania (root) – The Indian Ginseng, an important herb from the Ayurvedic medical system used for the treatment of debility, emaciation, impotence and premature ageing. Its Indian/Sanskrit name Ashwagandha refers to the smell and strength of a horse and alludes to its reputed aphrodisiac properties. A strengthening and rejuvenating tonic for all forms of weakness, fatigue, wasting and convalescing. It is said to provide fresh energy and vigour for a system worn out by any constitutional disease and to strengthen the nerves and promote restful sleep. Regarded as a rasayana herb, promoting health, increasing resistance of the body to stressors, revitalising the body in debilitated conditions, increasing longevity as well as improving learning and memory retrival. Modern research on Withania has stressed its antitumour and adaptogenic actions (Adaptogens increase the ability of an organism to cope with stress.) It therefore helps to conserve energy as well as boosting energy reserves. While it’s compared with Ginseng it lacks the stimulating effects of it, it has a mild sedative action as indicated by its latin name “somnifera”. Withania was found to be quite effective at decreasing inflammation as well as anti-inflammatory drugs i.e. dexamethasone and indomethacin. Weight loss caused by chronic arthritis was corrected and the inflammation and bony degenerative changes were decreased. It has been shown to significantly reduce the incidence, number and size of tumours as well as increase body weight of those with. Children who drank milk fortified with Withania showed improved strength of hand grip, increased body weight and increases in blood haemoglobin and serum iron levels. When given to adults between the ages of 50 – 59 for up to a year it showed increases in red blood cell count, increased seated stature, increased hair melanin content (less greying) as well as 71% reporting improvement in sexual performance.

So it is especially helpful in the following areas: Debility, nervous exhaustion especially due to stress; Emaciation and anaemia, especially in children; Convalescence after acute illness or extreme stress; Impotence due to devitalisation; Chronic diseases especially those marked by inflammation e.g. connective tissue diseases; As a general tonic for disease prevention and those under stress e.g. athletes and the elderly; May have some value in hypertension and high blood cholesterol; May have some preventative action against cancer; To improve immune function; As an adaptogen for athletes and improved muscle strength in elderly. Withania is also used to promote lactation in Ayurvedic medicine and the traditional medicine of south-east Asia. Withania was shown to improve milk yield and quality throughout lactation period and the children were shown to be of a better than average healthy weight.