Fertility with Vitex Agnus Castus
Herbs for helping you become pregnant...
Chasteberry or vitex (vitex
agnus-castus) is a fertility-promoting herb with a long, safe history of human
use. As far back as ancient Greece, vitex agnus castus was recognized for its
herbal-medicinal properties and was utilized for a number of health complaints.
The Germans call vitex "Monk's Pepper" and for centuries women in
Europe have used vitex to increase their odds of conceiving a baby, as well
as to treat symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance, skin condition, or
More recently, science
has validated the fertility-enhancing properties of this dynamic herb.
Vitex has been shown in several clinical studies to help stimulate and stabilize
the reproductive hormones involved in ovulation, cycle balance, and menstrual
regularity. These studies also document a statistically-significant increase
in fertility among women using vitex, with more pregnancies than in control
groups using a placebo.
To understand how vitex
works, let's first look at female fertility. In order for conception to take
place, a woman must have a regular menstrual cycle and ovulate (release an egg
from an ovary). Hormonal balance is key to regular ovulation - particularly
the ebb and flow of the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone, which
both prepare the body for ovulation (estrogen) and ensure that a pregnancy,
once achieved, is maintained (progesterone). Regularity of both menstrual cycle
and ovulatory function, dictated by the complex play of these hormones, are
key factors in successfully becoming pregnant. Vitex increases fertility by
helping regulate hormonal and menstrual balance. Vitex is a key ingredient in
fertility supplement products like FertilAid
How Does Vitex Promote
Vitex or chasteberry is
not a hormone; however, vitex works by acting on the hypothalamus and pituitary
gland, which in turn secrete hormones or send signals to other parts of the
body to trigger the production of reproductive hormones. Vitex has been shown
to help increase the level of luteinizing hormone (or LH) while gently suppressing
the secretion of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). In effect, vitex stimulates
the hormones involved in ovulation and assists in restoring overall hormonal
balance. More specifically, vitex is effective in regulating pituitary gland
function and in normalizing the balance of progesterone to estrogen levels.
Vitex is particularly supportive in maintaining progesterone levels during the
"luteal phase", or second half, of a woman's cycle.
A large percentage of menstrual
problems and infertility issues are related to insufficient progesterone production
during the luteal phase, which can result in a shortened luteal phase
and may possibly contribute to PCOS. With regard to the former, a "short"
luteal phase is often referred to as corpus luteum insufficiency or LPD (luteal
phase defect). Luteal phase defect is characterized by low progesterone levels
during the second half of your cycle. With regard to PCOS, hormonal imbalance
(namely insufficient levels of progesterone) may also contribute to the formation
of cysts on your ovaries, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. As vitex agnus castus
has been shown to support progesterone production, vitex may be suggested as
a treatment for menstrual cycle imbalances, luteal phase defect, and possibly
PCOS (as normalized progesterone levels and cycle regularity may suppress the
development of ovarian cysts associated with estrogen dominance).
Clinical studies now support
the fertility-enhancing claims associated with vitex agnus castus - as well
as its facility in treating common fertility disorders. In one commonly-cited
study, sixty-seven women with fertility or ovulatory disorders were given a
vitex agnus castus preparation, which resulted in a marked improvement of progesterone
levels during the luteal phase, earlier ovulation, and thirty-eight achieved
pregnancies (Bergmann, 2000).
In another study (Milewicz,
1993), vitex agnus castus was administered to hyperprolactinaemia female patients.
The use of vitex resulted in reduced prolactin levels, as well as the normalization
of luteal phase progesterone levels for women with luteal phase defect. Shortened
luteal phases were therefore normalized (lengthened).
An earlier German study
by Amann (1982) reveals that vitex exerts a favorable, positive effect on women
with amenorrhea (the absence of menstrual cycle or period), further establishing
the efficacy of vitex in restoring hormonal balance and cycle regularity. In
another clinical trial conducted at Stanford, women with fertility disorders
benefited from using a vitex-containing supplement, with more pregnancies in
the vitex group than in placebo groups. Each of these studies demonstrates the
fertility-enhancing properties of this unique herb.
Vitex is also recognized
as a safe herb. It has no known side-effects, and chasteberry can be taken for
up to 18 months continuously. When pregnancy is achieved, discontinue use of
vitex-containing supplements, as well as any other herbal-nutritional supplements
not specifically approved by your doctor. The benefits of vitex will increase
over time, and maximum benefits are typically achieved after a few months of
use. It is suggested to not take vitex or fertility supplements while you are
using prescription fertility drugs.
A fertility supplement like
FertilAid contains vitex agnus castus, as well as other key ingredients and
complete preconceptional vitamin support. FertilAid
Boosting Your Chances of Getting Pregnant