Probiotics for fertility
The probiotics dietary supplement plays a very important role for fertility and the ability to conceive.
Studies show that microbiota (bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, and others) in the vagina can adversely affect the pregnancy rate both of natural pregnancies and among IVF patients.
In a study conducted on women who had undergone IVF, the researchers discovered that those who suffered from abnormal microbiota in the vagina found it difficult to get pregnant (only 9% got pregnant). Those who did not suffer from abnormal vaginal microbiota were more likely to fall pregnant (44%).
In another study, it was found that the diagnosis of a common bacterial infection in the vagina is common in the first trimester of pregnancy and more than doubles the risk of spontaneous pregnancy loss in the second trimester. The same study also mentioned that diminished levels of the lactobacillus acidophilus bacterium or acidophilus (friendly bacteria) in the first trimester of pregnancy drastically increased the risk of pregnancy loss in the second trimester.
Likewise, a study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, with more than 700 pregnant participants, found that women with abnormal vaginal flora, which is characterized by a lack of probiotic bacteria, were 75% likely to give birth prematurely. Abnormal flora also significantly increases the risk of miscarriage.
Bacterial infections are commonly found among the population of women of child-bearing age and are known to be the cause of infertility. Chronic infection is related to a wide variety of health concerns. When a woman experiences chronic infection, it could affect her menstrual periods and her immune system, which could make it difficult to fall pregnant. A few strains of probiotics are found to help to reduce infection – particularly the lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains.
A small animal study on the role of probiotics in reducing infections found that probiotic germs in lactobacillus plantarum did indeed reduce infection and increase the fertility of rats.
Studies show that, in 40–50% of the cases in which the partner had difficulties conceiving, it comes from the male partner’s fertility problems. Luckily, it’s possible to improve the fertility and health of the sperm. A group of Chinese researchers studied the bacterial distribution of 96 sperm samples. They found that the amount of lactobacillus bacteria, the same type of probiotic bacteria beneficial to women’s fertility and health, was generally higher in sperm samples from healthy, fertile men and lower in sperm samples from unhealthy, infertile men.
A separate study that was conducted on rats found that oral administration of the lactobacillus reuteri probiotic (again, which is beneficial to the health of women) led to an increase in the sperm count and the testicular mass, and an increase of the overall health of the male reproductive organs. While our health is ultimately a reflection of many factors, including diet and lifestyle factors, studies show that the addition of the right probiotic strains can be beneficial, specifically but also in general, the lactobacillus strain.
Below is a list of strains that appear again and again in studies as supporting reproductive health and helping to prevent and to treat infections:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus reuteri
- Lactobacillus plantarum
In summary, some natural supplements can increase your chances of getting pregnant. In any event, most of the evidence is limited to research done on animals and more research needs to be done.
To remove any doubt, the contents of this article are intended to serve as a general overview only, and the information in it does not relate to a product nor is it intended to provide guidance, it does not comprise a certified medical recommendation, and it is not intended to instruct the public or to be used by it as advice, instruction, or a recommendation for the use, modification, or stopping use of any medication, and does not comprise a substitute for personal or other medical advice. Pregnant women, lactating women, children, and anyone taking prescription drugs must consult a doctor before using dietary supplements.