do hormone balancing supplements and fertility teas really work

Do "Hormone Balancing" Supplements Really Work?

Are supplements advertised as "hormone balancing" science-backed or snake oil? Our experts weigh in.

There is a lot of energy right now in the market (and Instagram) around "hormone balancing", especially through supplements. In fact, one of the supplement questions we get from Doveras members most often is whether various "hormone balancing" supplements are actually backed by clinical evidence.

We've done a review of thousands of studies on various supplement types and ingredients with some of the world's leading fertility scientists and doctors.

Based on this review, ⁠our opinion (and the opinion of many fertility doctors) is that it's a good idea to be extra cautious / skeptical of these "hormone balancing" supplements and their "scientific" claims. Because it is such a big financial opportunity, there is a lot of good marketing and "scientific" claims that should be met with some healthy skepticism and caution.

What ingredients do these supplements use, and what's the evidence for their efficacy??

Most hormone balancing supplements have a combination of three core ingredients: Maca Root, Chaste Tree Berry, or Ashwagandha.

Check out this supplement, for example.


When we look at the state of science behind the primary 3 ingredients, in all cases, they classify as "not enough evidence" in our grading system:

  • Maca or Maca Root: Also known as Peruvian ginseng, this ingredient is an ancient herb native to Peru. It has a long medicinal history as a fertility-enhancing supplement. However, there is insufficient research to make any recommendations about the impact of maca on fertility.
  • Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is an ancient herb native to India, the Middle East, and North Africa. It has a medicinal history in Ayurveda that dates back centuries. Very early evidence suggests that ashwagandha supplementation may improve sperm count, motility, and morphology among individuals with idiopathic male infertility. However, there is insufficient research available to make any recommendations about female fertility.
  • Chaste Tree Berry: Chasteberry (aka. Vitex Agnus-Castus) is a plant native to Asia and the Mediterranean region that has been used as a supplement in Eastern medicine to treat conditions like premenstrual syndrome (PMS), breast pain, menstrual irregularities, and infertility. Two very small randomized trials in individuals experiencing conception challenges have suggested that chasteberry supplementation may improve menstrual cycle regularity and the probability of pregnancy, but further research is needed before any recommendations can be made.

    ** ⁠Chasteberry may interact with some drugs and, therefore, is not safe for everyone. It should be avoided altogether while pregnant or nursing, and so during pre-pregnancy make sure you talk to your doctor before taking anything with this ingredient.

Overall, these ingredients do not have compelling evidence to support their efficacy for the suggested effects.

What about the other ingredients listed? This example has a number of other extracts that combine to create a "complex." None of these ingredients have clinical research to support the claims that they help "balancing hormones" or support fertility.

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Always look closely at marketing language

Many of these "hormone balancing" supplements have slick marketing language. Learning to read through this is a great skill! For example, many supplements with poor scientific evidence use the language that their ingredients are "clinically studied." This may be true — they may have been studied. But the truth is that there are often too few studies or such poorly designed ones that there is not much we can draw from them. Plus, most of these studies, as we saw with the ingredients in the example above, might be "studied" but most studies show no benefit.

In other words, using the language "clincically studied" is a sneaky way to get around the poor evidence for these ingredients.

So then, how do I naturally balance hormones?

The opinion of most experts is that the best way to balance hormones is by focusing on the holistic lifestyle patterns that are truly evidence-based. This is why our programs are designed to help you integrate the 3 Pillars of Fertility Health (nutrition, toxin reduction, and wellness) into your daily life. ⁠The Pre-Pregnancy Clean Up helps you balance hormones naturally, based on science — not snake oil.

What about supplements? Alongside lifestyle changes, we surface the top supplements for your unique profile and share the science behind them. Our goal is to help you spend your time (and money) on the stuff that clinical evidence shows can help. That's our unbiased sciene promise.

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