The fertility benefits of Evening primrose oil are attributed to its rich gamma-linolenic acid and omega-6 fatty acids content [1, 2] which studies suggest may improve reproductive function in older women by improving hormonal systems and promoting blood flow to the genital region and reproductive organs . It can also help improve sperm quality in males .
This article explores how evening primrose oil may balance hormones, lower inflammation, improve cervical mucus, and relieve PMS, menopause, and PCOS.
Although studies on animal models suggest omega-6 fatty acids may play an important role in reproduction, studies on humans suggest otherwise. More study is needed for further validation .
Evening primrose oil (EPO) is a natural supplement extracted from the seeds of the evening primrose plant. It is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid. GLA is converted into prostaglandins in the body, which have several health benefits such as hormone regulation, inflammation reduction, and cell growth.
Evening Primrose Oil Impact on Fertility
Evening primrose oil is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid, an omega-6 anti-inflammatory fatty acid.
It has been studied for its potential benefits in a variety of health conditions that could lead to infertility such as hormonal imbalance, inflammation, low cervical mucus, PMS, menopause, and PCOS all are conditions which can affect fertility.
Boost cervical mucus
Evening primrose oil may help improve the quality and quantity of cervical mucus, which is essential for sperm to reach the egg.
The results from a study suggest that Evening primrose oil may help reduce the pain and discomfort associated with diagnostic hysteroscopy . More importantly, it’s rich in omega-6 fatty acids which may help reduce the risk of preterm labor .
Balances body hormones
Evening primrose oil may help balance hormones, such as prolactin, which can interfere with ovulation and conception. This oil may also help ameliorate hyperleptinemia and balance reproductive hormones as noted in a study on obese female rats [8, 9].
Inflammation has long been linked with symptoms of many infectious diseases most of which are detrimental to fertility and reproductive functions .
EPO may help reduce inflammation in the reproductive organs. It has also been noted in several studies that evening primrose oil is rich in inflammation-fighting compounds like linolenic acid [11, 12].
Despite the inflammation-fighting properties of EPO, studies have also suggested that a high intake of omega-6 fatty acids may counter these anti-inflammatory effects .
Help relieve Premenstrual syndrome
PMS is a condition that causes physical and emotional symptoms such as breast tenderness, mood swings, and bloating in the days or weeks leading up to menstruation. A study also suggests that EPO contains essential fatty acids that may help relieve premenstrual syndrome .
May help reduce menopause symptoms
Menopause is a natural process that occurs when a woman stops menstruating. These symptoms include hot flashes and night sweats.
Helpful in treating PCOS
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that can cause a variety of symptoms, including infertility, irregular periods, and acne. Some research suggests that EPO may help improve hormone levels and insulin sensitivity in people with PCOS, which can lead to improved fertility.
A 12-week co-supplementation of Vitamin D and evening prime rose oil among vitamin D-deficient women with PCOS significantly improved triglycerides, VLDL cholesterol, GSH, and MDA levels.
The Science Behind EPO and Fertility
Evidence for EPO and Fertility. The research on EPO and fertility is mixed. Some studies have shown that EPO may help improve fertility, while others have not.
One study found that women who took EPO for three months had a higher pregnancy rate than women who took a placebo. Another study found that EPO helped to improve cervical mucus quality in women with fertility problems.
It’s important to know that the exact mechanisms by which EPO may improve fertility are not fully understood. However, some research suggests that EPO may work by:
- Increasing the production of prostaglandin E1, a hormone that helps to promote ovulation and implantation.
- Reducing the production of prostaglandin F2α, a hormone that can cause uterine contractions and cramping.
- Improving blood flow to the reproductive organs.
- Reducing inflammation in the reproductive organs.
The recommended dosage of EPO for fertility is 1500 to 3000 milligrams per day. It is best to start with a lower dose and increase it gradually as needed. EPO should be taken orally, once or twice a day, with food.
When to take EPO for fertility
EPO should be taken from the beginning of the menstrual cycle until ovulation. It should not be taken after ovulation, as it may increase the risk of miscarriage.
EPO can interact with some medications, including blood thinners, antiplatelets, and phenothiazines. It is important to talk to your doctor before taking EPO, especially if you are taking any medications.
Risks and precautions
EPO is generally safe for most adults when taken in recommended doses. However, it can cause some mild side effects, such as stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, headache, and skin rash.
EPO may also increase the risk of bleeding in people who are taking blood thinners. It is important to talk to your doctor before taking EPO if you have any bleeding disorders or are taking any medications that increase the risk of bleeding.
EPO may also interact with certain herbal supplements, such as garlic and ginger. It is important to talk to your doctor before taking EPO if you are taking any herbal supplements.
EPO is a promising herbal supplement with a variety of potential health benefits, including fertility. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking EPO, especially if you have any health conditions or are taking any medications.
JC is passionate about finding the impact of foods (feeding habits) on human fertility and reproductive health and a way to improve fertility.