With the average age of a woman's first baby at the oldest in history, more and more women in their thirties and forties are struggling to get pregnant. But a new report shows many of those women could be damaging their own efforts--by taking standard over the counter diet supplements, News Radio 1200 WOAI reprots.
Dr. Matthew Retzloff, a fertility specialist at the Fertility Center of San Antonio, says many supplements interfere significantly with the body's ability to conceive.
"Herbs and supplements have become extremely popular," Dr. Retzloff said. "They are sold over the counter, and many of them are unregulated."
He says the supplements are used for everything from weigh loss to skin care to reducing the pain of monthly menstral cycles. But several common supplements, including Vitamin A, Megavitims, Dong Quai, and many weight loss supplements, actually damage the cycle that allows woman to get pregnant."
"The most problematic supplements are those that contain hormones themselves," he said. "Those that are used for weight loss."
The National Institutes of Health says many weight loss supplements contain stimulants, and it has been known for some time that women who consume more than the equivalent of one cup of coffee per day, were half as likely to become pregnant, per cycle, as women who drank less.
Particularly troubling for older women who are trying to have a baby are roots like Dong Quai, which are commonly used to reduce menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.
And Dr. Retzloff says it isn't just women.
He says men who are trying to father a child need to take note as well.
"Men should avoid testosterone supplementation," he said. "Testosterone supplementation has become very popular."
But he says testosterone boosting supplements can not only significantly reduce a man's sperm count, but can 'cause significant harm to a female fetus.'